McGregor Says: Tuning up the truck and the soul

It was time to get the old truck out of the garage and on the road. Like anything that comes out of hibernation, it needed a bit of attention. I like to tinker and tighten, but there was a leaking exhaust manifold gasket and a weeping wheel cylinder, items that arise when you neglect something for a while.

I have acknowledged that to put the truck on ramps and get down, crawl under and then get back up again, takes me longer than to perform the actual task so I took it in to my trusty mechanic.

They actually like to work on the old machinery once in a while. Instead of just plugging into a computer, they can open the bottom drawer of their tool boxes and use their wrenches and gauges and actually take things apart and put them back together.

When I picked it up I went for a drive. It was quiet with the exhaust leak fixed and it purred and hummed as the fresh oil lubricated everything that moved. It leaned into the corners and challenged the hills and it was ready for the summer cruises and car shows.

About the same time I had been invited to attend a Creative Arts Retreat at a camp on Samish Island in Washington State. Some of my song writing friends asked me to tag along to this three-day event that has been going for more than 20 years.

Just coming out of hibernation myself, I thought maybe my mind and soul could use a bit of a tune up as well.

The location was on the ocean at the Community of Christ Church camp, which has been there since 1960 and is an amazing facility indeed. Warm cabins, a modern commercial kitchen and a comfortable dining hall provided all the tools for repairing attitudes or cleaning out the cobwebs between the ears.

A fire crackled in the big stone fireplace and welcomed people from all over the Pacific Northwest. As the artisans’ unloaded kilns and looms, easels and canvases, the musicians arrived with organs, guitars, cellos, violins, dulcimers and brass instruments.

The program was designed for collaboration and while there were some structured sessions, there were times when writers sat with artists and musicians tried their hand at pottery or worked the loom.

I sat in on a fly tying session while others went to yoga and some of the musicians jammed by the fireplace working on new tunes or playing Billy Joel, Neil Sedaka, or Bob Dylan tunes. Others took note books and wandered down to the wooden benches along the lagoon and wrote while the herons and eagles landed and took off in graceful silence.

On the way home, my mind was humming and purring, my body was leaning into the corners and challenging the hills, my filters were clean and there was fresh oil running through my veins.

Summer is coming, get tuned up and be ready. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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