I just had the best mandolin practice session I've had in a long time, perhaps in years. That I had a practice session on a week night is a miracle itself, especially since I had to locate myself in the dark and sometimes cold porch, in front of the computer which is on top of a low dresser because that's what we have space for.
Maybe it was because I was relaxed. I wasn't thinking "I NEED to practice, I have x number of songs to work through and I need to learn them note for note." Instead, I had a couple of ideas of songs that I'd been listening to in the last few days, songs I somehow knew I could do. And I'm still riding high on the Mike Compton/David Long workshop and concert I attended two weeks ago; I keep listening to their style, keep grooving on it, keep thinking "oh so this is how it's done!" And their way of doing it comes a lot more naturally than memorizing a bunch of notes on sheet music and trying to expand from there.
And maybe it was because I found a very happy song. It's an old time fiddle tune called "Johnny Don't Get Drunk", potentially a very unhappy topic, but it's a very uplifting, upbeat melody. Anyway, I really got into the melody, and variations thereof, in a free manner that I hadn't experienced while playing in quite a long time. I decided to end the practice session while I was still on top of things.
There's so much music I want to do these days, and so little time. But if I could have a time like this every day, which is every bit as good as meditation for me, I would look forward to these long winter evenings!