I drove on Monday to Kansas City to see Carole, catch up with on old undergrad fried whom I hadn't seen for 22 years, and catch the Decemberists concert at the Uptown theater.
Carole's on the threshold of publishing HER six-year long project, so she's going to beat me across our respective finish lines. My old fried Tiffany is as gorgeous, brassy, and awesome as I remember.
As I sat at a table and drank with these two amazing women, I realized that I'd known them, collectively, for over 40 years. That kind of freaked me out.
Later, Colin Melloy played "June Hymn" as the encore to the concert. It's an homage to the pastoral, to spring, and to time:
The bridge just kicked my ass:
And years from now when this old light
Isn’t ambling anymore
Will I bring myself to write
“I give my best to Springville Hill”
In that lyric, past and present and future all congeal around and within place. Of course, I thought of Wordsworth:
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.
Both speakers are standing in the now, spurred by the past, conceiving of the future. Sad perplexity haunts them both.
As Carole and I strolled arm in arm down Broadway, giggling and chattering in the cold, I thought of all the other times I'd sauntered down those streets with other friends all those years ago.
The next morning, I sat in a coffee shop in Westport and tried to hydrate away the too-much whiskey I'd drunk the night before. I tried to think about the future, but I was wistful about leaving my old friend and my new/old friend. I postponed my trek north across frozen stubblefields and back to my lonely work.
Guess what played on the coffee shop's sound system while I sat there and procrastinated? Even in the warmth of old/new memories formed half a world away from Davis, San Francisco, and Berkeley, I still can't escape the wind:
I miss, I miss, I miss, I missHow you'd sigh yourself to sleepWhen I'd rake the springtimeAcross your sheets
My love, I'm an owl on the sillIn the eveningBut morning finds youStill warm and breathing
This tornado loves youWhat will make you believe me?