Thoughts From A Train 11.3.21 Global vs. Local
Do you ever run out of thoughts? I practice daily Transcendental Meditation sessions to try and remove any and all thoughts. It is often challenging to remove every single thought, and some days it is nearly impossible, but I do not really look at it as a problem. Sometimes my mind is racing faster than usual. All I need is a relatively quiet spot and twenty minutes to wind down. Taking all these beautiful train rides through Denmark has provided me time to sit and read and write, meditate, or just stare out the window at the Danish Autumn colors flashing by. It has been an incredible tour, considering the fact that we are still in a global pandemic. I am super grateful to my promoter Roar Amundsen and all the Danish supporters of roots and folk music. This has been a blast, and I hope to return here again with my daughter as tour manager and merchandise saleswoman. A father must dream out loud from time to time, but as the aspiring interior decorator she claims to be, I think she needs to check out Denmark.
Since arriving here, I have accomplished a considerable amount of work—writing and editing wise. I have written songs with Danish songwriters, worked on several different installments of the Americana Unsung series, and am about to post my annual Bob Dylan cover for charity, the video for which I just edited together last night which combines footage from my home studio in Tennessee with scenes from the ARoS Museum here in Denmark. This will be the 7th consecutive year that the engineer Gabe Masterson and I have worked on this project. The first five were filmed and crafted into a video, mostly by the director Stacie Huckeba, and feature many Nashville musicians and friends helping out. The last two were done at home by me. I simply did not have time to coordinate a big recording and filming event before leaving for this Danish tour, and I knew that if I waited until after I returned, I would not get the job done by the Thanksgiving deadline, which is self-imposed.
I make these films for one purpose, to raise awareness and money for SAFPAW.ORG. The Southern Alliance For People & Animal Welfare is a charity organization that helps the homeless make ends meet in my own neighborhood of Madison and East Nashville, Tennessee. The global homeless problem is quite a serious dilemma, and as I wander around the planet and see how widespread this crisis is, I am again reminded that I am powerless over the big picture. What I can do is work in my own neighborhood to help mitigate suffering. However, I am not on the streets daily like Laurie Green and her incredible organization of volunteers at SAFPAW. I am not driving around in a van making sure somebody has dry socks or a warm meal. I am not capable of the day to day grind it takes to comfort people on the streets. We all have our role in this. I make this video once a year, but SAFPAW is at work helping the homeless 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Last week, I went into the great Art Museum of Aarhus and saw the incredible “Anything Helps” installation by the visual artist Jani Leinonen which presents several dozen cardboard signs made by homeless people all over the planet, elaborately framed in a majestic display. Seeing homelessness and begging as a global crisis is important, but acting local is the only thing most of us can do. I do not have big star power. I am just the neighborhood folksinger, doing my part. I thank you for doing yours. When the video comes out later this week, or any time, please go to SAFPAW.ORG and click on the donate button. Even sending $5 will do more than you could ever imagine. Stacie Huckeba is also working on a separate video and song to raise awareness for SAFPAW, and I’m sure it will be incredible. When we all work towards a common goal, the people on the streets of this local and global trauma are able to cope just a little better. Thanks for reading, and thanks for participating in the big picture by focusing on the little picture in your own neighborhood. The little acts of kindness you do today have unimaginable ripples on our planet. #homelessness