A Season for Leaving Part 1: Asheville's Fall Magic and Signs From Above

I’ve been wondering why I was drawn to visit Asheville, NC, where I recently returned from a several nights' trip that also took me into Pigeon Forge, TN and the famed Dollywood amusement park (more on that later).

For one, it seemed like forever ago since I'd been in the region and I wanted to feel what it felt like being there again. I'd never visited Asheville before, just passed through while touring when I was living in Savannah, GA after releasing my first album Mantic. I was drawn to Savannah by its artistic community, southern charm, and affordability, so that I could live simply and tour up and down and across the east and southeast.

Asheville held a similar appeal for me, and it did not disappoint.

The historic home I stayed in, Asheville, NC

The historic home I stayed in, Asheville, NC

Fall scenes in the Montford neighborhood

Fall scenes in the Montford neighborhood


There I nestled into magic mountains. Found inspiration in the stunning colors of fall. Of leaves signaling change.

I embraced the season for leaving. For letting go. Transitioning into big life changes ahead and accepting them with my whole being.

It was wonderful again to be in a town of slower pace. Feeling closer to nature and Spirit. In essence, it felt like a culmination of a certain phase in my life... all my travels as a young musician in my mid-20s and early 30s. A farewell to the south, which I've loved. A last hurrah.

I'm ready, though uncertain, of this new phase of life that's ahead. For the constant wanderer that I've been (moving around every year or two for over a decade), I find that I'm also in the season of settling down. It's new for me, and while I'm unsure of it, I put my trust in these internal stirrings, as I always have.

Strangely or not, birds have been calling to me as of late. Signs from above. A raven who landed on my porch and cawed and cawed at me (reminding of a past someone). A jay that landed on my window somehow, that crafty, ambitious bird. Then a cardinal in Asheville right outside the room I was staying in, stunningly red and miraculous. And finally, a fat little sparrow, calling me to the comforts of home.

A few lines of a song came to me, then, when I returned to Austin at the start of the week I’d be packing up to move back to California:

Speak to me my broken sparrow

We will find the wings to carry you home

Seek the truth and you will find it

We will mend the wings of your broken arrow.

I sang them and cried. A release of so much... life... And I was reminded again what music is for me. Healing. Spirit. Connection. Helping myself and, hopefully, others heal as we all can through sharing our truth and stories.

I felt sorry that I let myself lose sight, for even just a moment during these darker times, of what music really is and has been in my life... but now I see.

Alley and various shots in downtown Asheville

Alley and various shots in downtown Asheville

Outside the gorgeous Biltmore Estate

Outside the gorgeous Biltmore Estate