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Craig Peyton's Overflight Ep. 4
Craig the Survivor 2000-Now
In late 2000, a spiritual advisor Craig had met through a fellow pilot dropped a grim prognostication — that Craig was a very, very ill man. A week later, he was diagnosed with Stave IV esophageal cancer and given two-ish months to live. An unexpected turn of events. The spiritual advisor would visit Craig in the hospital to perform new age rituals involving bells, feathers, smoke and dancing. The doctors and nurses were baffled. “Those were the moments I looked forward to and kept me hanging in there,” Craig said.
Today, we gather a few songs from Craig’s catalogue that brush against the spiritual, that seemingly reveal a man bumping his noggin on The Great Beyond and finding something waiting there beyond the veil. And once again, we’re fudging just a bit. The Spanish guitar trip-hop triumph “Inner Navigator” and Adult Contempo yacht spiritual “Tunnel of Light” both existed before Craig’s brush with death. But it’s difficult not to make associations with his narrow escape from The Very Clutches of Doom.
“Those songs might have as much to do with depression, as spirituality,” Craig said. “If I had to put a sound into going into that tunnel, it would be very ambient, mini overlapping waves like patterns, and time stretched....not particularly melodic or form-based.”
Craig really did see a tunnel of light though! After his second hospitalization, Craig demanded to go home. He was warned by doctors that the heavy meds he was on during chemo were putting a wallop on his body, dehydrating him beyond belief. But he just couldn’t stay in the hospital room any more. He’d had enough. That same night, back at home, he got out of bed and collapsed — smashing his head on a piece of furniture on the way down.
“The experience was very out of body — into a tunnel of sparkling light where every little swirling spark was a personality that I was somehow related to through deep time,” Craig said. “It sounds corny, but it was very profound in terms of how much love I felt and how welcomed I was on the other side. Reluctantly, I was slapped back awake and the first thing I said was that I didn't want to return to the living world.”
Craig’s spiritual adviser also told him that if he survived the cancer that he must spend more time on water. And so when Craig beat the disease, he began kayaking on the Hudson River. He found kayaking exhilarating, and would take kayaking trips with his young son up and down the Hudson through all seasons. “I feel this greatly sped up my recovery,” Craig said. And on trips to more tropical areas (remember, Craig is the flight ambassador to the Bahamas!), Craig would often take naps in kayaks. This experience with water resulted in what Craig says is the only legit creation directly related to his cancer experience, the ambient flight film ‘Spirit of Water.’
“It pretty much reflects — cough — where I was at the time trying to connect with the good part of having my feet in both worlds.”
Our definitive compilation arcing across Craig’s fascinating career is called Overflight and it’s out in full on Oct. 6. You should preorder a limited 2xCassette copy. Do it for Craig! Do it for ULYSSA. Do it for your soul.