In 1933, my great-grandparents built a lakeside cabin in the hills of Northeastern Oklahoma in a place called Tag Hollow. I grew up going there in the summers with my grandmother Glennes, after whom the cabin, Gleneyrie, was named. On a Wednesday morning thirteen years ago, I sang "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" by her hospital bedside as she slipped from this earthly place into the next. It was the most sacred moment of my life to date, now shared only with the births of my two children. Sometimes we are gifted a glimpse into the Divine, the thin veil disguising that holiness which is always present beneath ordinary living. Her passing ushered in a grief unlike any I'd known before, or since. I've often said, she was an icon of my life. Nowadays, the cabin is saturated in her memory.
On the eve of my 35th birthday, David and I left for a weekend getaway to the cabin. Instead of celebrating, I was mired down in sorrow, big life questions, childlessness, and the unmet expectations of what I thought my life should have been by 35. In the midst of all that, my grandma met me there in the valley. I could feel her spirit near and hear the distinct cadence of her voice in my memory. I sensed her urging me to live in the joy that was already mine. She helped me see the foolishness in focusing more on what's not than learning to love what is. It was like a loving slap upside the head. A wake up call if you will. I grappled with it all that birthday weekend, and in the end I chose to let go of the fears of what may never be, in order that I might take hold of the joy of the now.
I pulled out my guitar that weekend and began to write a song about the majestic place my family calls Gleneyrie. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the cabin would become my muse that year. I went on to write my next record there in its sweet, sequestered shelter. The record is appropriately named, "The Tag Hollow Sessions". I hope you enjoy listening, here's "Gleneyrie":