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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

Heartsbeats (and a hint of horror)

Our momentary life back on the road is coming to a close. Since leaving California almost a month ago, we've seen the prettiest western views, have gone backpacking in South Dakota, and have once again bent our axle from being overweight with CDs and merch that we aren't selling at shows we aren't playing this year. Luckily, we managed to get to Pennsylvania a little early, where our axle is being fixed thanks to some wildly generous friends at The Thought Lot, and we can recuperate from what we deemed our First Family Vacation. Here are some pretty photos of what we saw from our little socially distanced wilderness adventure with our pals, Bryan & Aaron when we hiked 20 miles and climbed the highest mountain East of the Rockies (Black Elk Peak) in four days.

If you've been following our Instagram account, you've been seeing quite a bit of this. Here, a week and some change away from the nature saturation, there is still the sound of a special heartbeat resonating. Or rather, six heartbeats. When we entered the Black Elk Wilderness area, a sign was posted that each party was limited to 25 heartbeats. This included livestock, pets, and people. Stepping in, we noted "Six heartbeats in, six heartbeats out." Well, after we made a hilarious Donner party/cannibalism joke. But it was just a joke... mostly. You can catch up on all the hours in between on our Insta while we fast forward you to the last day. After the mountain, after the picturesque breakfasts and meteor showers, we were only a mile plus from the end of our loop. The sun was bright and hot, and the trees we'd enjoyed the shade of shrank back in the wilderness. Puddle was struggling. I got worried.

Maybe my worry was overly cautious, but with 19 miles behind us, my brain had finally switched to survival. I let the fear direct me, and ended up taking more breaks than I felt justified for the little pup. But here's the part where it turned full circle-- when I began to apologize for my over protectiveness, Aaron looked very calmly back and said, "Six heartbeats in, six heartbeats out," with a shrug. Of course! Where was there to be that was so important as to risk someone's life? Even-- or maybe especially-- the littlest of these?

It's obvious now that we made it-- all six heartbeats of us. It was a little slower than expected, and that night, instead of a celebratory vegan burger and beer, we took a night to shower and rest. But the most important part had been accomplished. Everyone was safe and together. Puddle & Magpie slept for about two days after while we people explored the Badlands and let our muscles rest as we watched bison and longhorn sheep from our car.

These four heartbeats left South Dakota feeling like we'd really wrung it out this time, and got our camper legs back by driving 2000 miles to where we sit now with our home on blocks and our blisters finally healing. We are back in the the political and social wilderness of the Pandemic, where we've seen people yell at essential workers, had a trucker yell at us in a rest area for wearing our BLM shirt, and slowly have our serene walk in the woods dismantled back to a crowded reality.

Except for this: we are paying attention to our surrounding heartbeats. We are continuing to wear masks in public because we want to make sure that all 25 heartbeats that went into the store the same time we did come back out again safely. We continue to donate and educate ourselves for the BLM movement because those heartbeats are not getting the same priority that ours are. How we tend to these heartbeats may look different in each case, but it is with sureness that we are doing the very best we can with the information we've been given. If we find out later that masks were all a hoax, then we can still rest in the belief that we weren't willing to risk a hearbeat to find out. We aren't going to push it. We are going to let those who are weary rest, and those who are suffering find relief. We've got awfully strong backs from all this hiking-- climb on. Join us.

This week we are filming a new music video and having a photo shoot for our upcoming record, We're Only Family if You Say So. It's a record all about family dysfunction, and the work that goes in to being part of a family. The healing often starts with saying so-- with saying that things need to be different, with saying that your heartbeat matters, saying that the family would not be the same without that heartbeat. The connection of timing to a country divided looking to unite again is not lost on us.

Then we will ramble back down south again, with a stay in Alabama & South Carolina where we can wait until 2021 starts and see if these heartbeats are ready to hit the road again.

But before that, we have some exciting news. We will be telling you more next week, but you're about to see a bit of a scary change around our social media. Frightening, even. A project that we've been keeping under lock and key has been rattling its chains trying to get out, and we're afraid we just can't keep it in anymore. So prepare yourselves, get your heartbeats in check... the Lullafrights are coming.

1 Comment

Aug 25, 2020

Great read. I am excited about the new Lullafrights! Stay safe. Love you four heartbeats!

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