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Small Windows Pt VI: Priesthood in a guitar case

RE 6
Leipzig Hbf – Chemnitz Hbf – Hainichen
15th December 2019
2:51pm

The intensive part of the tour was over. It wasn’t all I’d hoped and I was exhausted. I needed a break before going back home for the last shows, so I visited my uncle in Saxony and reflected on the ten days past.

As the train pulls through the one-time Protestant heartlands of Saxony and Thuringia, it occurs to me that the tour has been a Lutheran one. No wild post-show outings, nothing racier than a cool Pils or two, and never before singing . No tour bus bouncing to country-rock screamers – only the decorum of the Inter-City Express and flat skies, flat lands, a novel and a notebook.

Maybe I should be better exploiting what’s left of my youth. But I’ve never been the reckless type and besides, sooner or later, tour must become life, road and rail become my commute.

So I start my routine wherever I find myself. Last on my packing list was a bag of muesli. Rock and roll.

Priesthood is about discipline. You awake for chapel, I join the crack-o-dawn commuters. You sketch your next sermon, I tweak my setlist. Shaking hands in and out the door. Rattling the collection box. After all your tenderly arranged words, wondering, wondering and never knowing if anything will land, still be remembered tomorrow or next week or in twenty years.

This isn’t a life for everyone. Neither is it completely devoid of comforts. As the adieus add up, so do the welcomes. Most of all, the hours of waiting, deserts of interiority whose exploration is only made bearable by the knowledge that this strange rhythm, pivoting on departure after departure, will soon kick in again.

So I become a man of habit. I settle, I sing, I leave with the morning. But there’s room in all that for the odd indulgence: an onboard coffee. To my surprise, it’s rather good.

As I re-read this piece I’m reminded of the inspiration that Kevin Morby has given me again and again over the years, in particular through the album Singing Saw and in this touching article about his life.

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