Story by Brittany Jean
There are many stories I could tell you about the making of this music video.
I could tell you about filming at the train museum…
I will forever live in fear because there is footage in a vault somewhere of me wiping out in those platform shoes while trying (and failing) to be Cinderella as I walked along the train tracks. I didn’t lose a shoe though, so… chalk up a point for me.
Or I could tell you about our first canoeing venture…
Three people in a canoe with two and a half oars (I broke one of them pretty early on), really choppy water, almost turning around before we’d even begun, and then later braving the waves alone…
Or I could tell you about that spectacular, vertigo-inducing bridge…
On a side note, at one point I had to drive the truck over said one-lane bridge while Grant flew his drone from the passenger seat, and I was so terrified I’d inadvertently drive us over the edge that we were basically crawling across the bridge. I haven’t been given the job of driving since. Probably because Grant would like to actually get to a destination faster than a snail.
Or I could tell you about the time I was certain I had hit Grant with the canoe while he was getting those underwater shots…
(He said I didn’t, but I’m still not sure if I believe him.)
These are all good stories in their own right, but I’m going to tell you about Diablo Lake.
Getting a canoe strapped to the top of a truck is no easy feat. Getting a canoe to the water isn’t that easy either, come to think of it. Everywhere other than in the water, canoes are just kind of awkward.
Our canoe also blocked the middle portion of the windshield as we trekked northwest, but it was what it was.
Heading to the lake, my eyes were glued to the scenery outside. Since I wasn’t the one driving, I could take it all in, as well as look out windows that didn’t have a canoe in them. It’s a challenge to get bored on the road in Washington, and being late-September, I could see dashes of reds and yellows here and there, turning it all into a painting. I’d heard about Highway 20—about how beautiful it is, and it did not disappoint. The beautiful places in this state take me by surprise all the time. Having grown up in the Midwest, I still haven’t gotten over the magnificence of the mountains here.
The lakes and rivers… I’m glad such wild, rugged places still exist… Such places shouldn’t be tamed.
Gorgeous turquoise water surrounded by the North Cascade Mountains—mountains covered in sweet pines.
It was pretty chilly on this day, and it was also very windy. It did rain briefly, but so briefly I’m not even sure why I’m mentioning it. Point is, it was cold, and the water wasn’t glassy smooth. Once we got our boat, ourselves, and Grant’s camera equipment to the water, we paddled out and away from what little civilization we could see.
We weren’t having the easiest time as the crazy wind was against us, but Grant encouraged me that at least we’d have the wind at our backs on the way back. Yes, the wind would help us out later.
Just like the other locations we’d been to, I sort of forgot we were here for a video. I was so swept up in where we were that I was simply enjoying the chance to be there.
It was a good thing I didn’t have to play a specific role for this video and could just be myself, because I’m pretty sure I was smiling the whole time. We came across a dock which came in handy, making it easy for Grant to get out and find a place to film from, and then, once again, I was braving the water alone. It was so much fun.
My arms soon felt like they were going to fall off, but I’d happily spend another day like this one.
When Grant got back in the canoe, I asked him about a little island he’d mentioned earlier, wondering where it was. He pointed further on. “It’s up that way, around the bend.”
“Are we going there next?”
By now, I think we’d both had enough of killing ourselves to come even this far, but we decided to try. There were a couple of times when we both would’ve gladly given up and called it a day, but neither of us admitted it. We had come all that way—we might as well get everything we wanted to film while we were there. Like we say in the studio, “You can’t erase the take you don’t have.” Maybe Grant wouldn’t use the footage we got at the island, but at least he’d have it. He could make the decision later instead of now.
So onward it was.
After about an hour, we made it to Tom Sawyer’s island, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to describe how difficult it was to get there. I was exhausted—the current towards the dam in the distance was strong, I was cold, I was windswept, and a cup of hot chocolate right about then would’ve been fantastic. The rock of an island was pretty neat, but there wasn’t a good place to tie the canoe down. So, we fastened the life vests together into a makeshift sort of rope, connecting it to the canoe, and I held onto the other end so our way home wouldn’t leave without us. All done while trying not to fall off the slippery boulders lining the shore and into the icy water. After Grant got a few shots, we were about as ready as we could be to make the long voyage back to the beach where we’d started.
Ah, but the wind would help us now, right?
Somehow—I’m not sure if it was because of the way we were sitting, perhaps we weren’t balancing the weight across the canoe correctly—we started spinning. In circles. We were spinning and making very little forward progress. By now, my arms were well and truly done, and endlessly going round and round was rather discouraging.
The current was pulling us towards the Dam of Doom and the Falls of Rauros beyond, and we were trying our best to go in the opposite direction.
There was a saving grace at this point which kept me from despairing too much, and that was this…
Grant was sitting in the front seat of the canoe, I was sitting in the back, and all of his camera equipment was in between us. Every time we hit a wave, water was coming in. Not enough to worry us into making the decision about which of us would go down with the ship, but enough to make me laugh every single time. Because like the front of the canoe, Grant was getting the brunt of those waves as well. He was practically swimming up there. In comparison, I really couldn’t complain all that much.
I did my best to hide my laughter.
If you can still smile when things seem bleak, then that’s half the battle won, in my own humble opinion.
We did eventually make it back, just about breaking ourselves to do so, and we made it home safe and sound. And we had another adventure for the books, as well as the final clips for a new music video.
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“Wilderness for Heart” came from a few lion-hearted people I love dearly who have taken the road “less traveled by”. There’s a sense of wonder, fearlessness, and freedom I admire in the wild at heart.
And like wild, rugged, beautiful places, I hope hearts like that are never fully tamed.