Tag: Life



I didn’t know what to say. 

It took a while, but gradually it began to sink in and memories began to flash and emotions arose. Friends…Hans and Renee at Lulu’s with the surprise Freddy and the Fishsticks free show during the oil spill….Greensboro and the dive club—building and setting up a tiki bar, offering refreshments to strangers passing by…the concert at Auburn when I was attending college there…Raleigh and lightning so bad I thought we’d all die on the aluminum bleachers…Pensacola and my pal Milton…Jazz Fest in New Orleans…so many amazing memories of concerts, but that’s just a small part of the sweetness.

Jimmy Buffett was basically a home-town boy, from where I grew up, that used his smarts and talent to soar to the stars with ideas and creativity. He built a freaking empire of Parrot Heads and was able to capitalize on fun and sun and letting go of worries. He did something incredible with the life he was given. That’s impressive…and inspiring. 

As I reflected on JB today, I saw how his music is interwoven into the story of my life. And so many other lives. What a legacy to leave behind.

He brought an intense focus on loving the Ocean, one of my passions.  He championed manatees, as he supported Save the Manatee Club. He connected us to our Mother Ocean. 

(When I was documenting the oil spill along the Gulf Coast in 2010)

When I asked Siri to play Jimmy Buffett this morning this is what I heard, “Mother Mother Ocean, I have heard your call. Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall, You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all.” That song was a reminder of my call to dive under the surface and experience the underwater world of coral reefs, humpback whales, dolphins…the salt has always been in my blood. It’s my favorite song written by Jimmy. (A Pirate Looks at Forty). 

Growing up on the Alabama coast, so much of the soundtrack of my life was JB’s music because I could relate to what he was singing about…the salt air, open water. His poet’s soul called to mine, and helped me walk the path of my heart.

I’m not saying I continued to listen to his music so much after I rounded 50. I didn’t attend concerts since the last one in Pensacola with my buddy, Milton. It became too much, too many people, too much chaos. The thing I love about his music wasn’t in the mass of drunken people. As I grew into middle age, I found his music became more of a foundation that led me to songwriters he worked with, so my musical horizons expanded and I met people like Will Kimbrough, who wrote with Jimmy, and creates amazing songs, and Mary Gauthier, who wrote Wheel  Inside the Wheel, one of my favorite ‘JB’ songs. 

It seems a lot of musicians are leaving us these days, yet they leave behind a legacy of music that continues to feed our souls and help us reflect on our lives. The reflection on my younger years seems to happen on a deeper level every time one of our legends crosses over into that endless place of dreams. Unwinding from where I am now, I journey back to growing up on the Gulf Coast, relationships, friendships…life choices that completely changed my life’s trajectory because I chose to live fully, jumping in with wild abandon. 

Congratulations JB on a life well-lived. And thank you.

All photographs by Simone Lipscomb, except the one of me and that was taken by my brother, Lance Lipscomb.

So Much Magnificence

So Much Magnificence

Chilly morning air, washed clean with an all-day rain yesterday, awakens me to beauty…more beauty. More magnificence. From my perch on the front porch, the far mountain ridge is draped with clouds—moving beings of white mist. Bird song fills the space between here and there…tom turkeys…wood thrush…nut hatches…blue jays…red-bellied woodpeckers…carolina wrens…towhees…and as I write this a hummingbird, the first of the season, buzzes the porch.

Colors of spring creep slowly up the mountain, each day offering a new shade of green or pink or light orange. My favorite color season is spring…the tom turkeys tend to agree as they gobble, gobble, gobble searching for their alluring hens. The near ridge is robed in those sweet spring colors but that far ridge, the one with the dancing cloud, is still winter-bare.

The other day I rode up Highway 441, the road that goes through the Smoky Mountain National Park from Cherokee to Gatlinburg. I started in a lush, green spring and climbed to winter where icicles still clung to cliffs. When the road lowered in elevation it was an amazing rush of colorful leaves that enfolded all who entered that tunnel of green.

Wildflowers this year have been amazing, probably due to a very wet winter. They are thriving and as the lower elevations fade, the upper elevations have yet to see trilliums, lady’s slippers, showy orchis. Spring seems eternal here. 

In spring the trees share their beauty by the daily movement of color up, up, up to higher elevations while in the autumn the colors begin at the highest peaks and slowly move down to lower elevations. It’s a never-ending dance of temperature, moisture, position of the sun…life continues on and on and on.

The sun illuminates the far mountain ridge now as clouds turn golden in their swirling, whirling—dervishes worshipping through sacred dance. The turkeys still gobble for their sweethearts, the wood thrush fluting near the creek below.

Sadness found me this morning as yet another loss of life shocked me. Not her! She’s such a light in this world. I felt a pull to the porch, to Nature…to life. Keep living, keep breathing, keep opening and opening and opening.

I just noticed the red bud starting to bloom as I glanced up and gazed into the woods. The turkeys must be dancing, their gobbling reaching a new frenzy. The sun kisses the closer ridge as it breaks through dark clouds…that green, the green of early morning sunlight, is perhaps the most precious of all the greens.

The magnificence of life reminds me to treasure each moment…the glorious ones filled with springtime magic as well as the sad ones filled with grief. We knew coming into this physical body that it would fade, just as the flowers fade, the trees fall during storms. Perhaps that’s what makes life so incredibly sacred. While we are here we have been gifted with a present so glorious…if only we would remember to notice…the colors of spring as they creep up the mountain…so much magnificence.