The swollen clouds send rain like tears. The drops tap against my window. Forming into rivulets as gravity pulls them relentlessly downward. Hypnotized by the patter, I struggle against sleep. Puddling on the ground, the waters rise, and begin to flow taking my thoughts with them. Streams become creeks, creeks become rivers, rivers flowing onward to an invisible ocean of sorrow. In this gray half-light the line between wake and dreaming blurs. I wonder, are my eyes are open or closed? More importantly, does it even matter?
Last month, for the first time in more than a year and a half, I visited an airport and went on a trip for my Dark Corporate Overlords. With all the changes going on in my life during the past year I haven’t been complaining about the break from traveling. It’s been a welcomed chance to sort things out and establish a new normal. Yet all things must pass, and eventually work required me to stuff a week’s worth of clothes into a carryon suitcase, and squeeze myself into a germ infested metal tube with 300 other humans for 12 hours of confinement. Ah… the glamour of business travel. I’m sure some company still pays for their employees to fly business class, but I’ve never been lucky enough to work for one. Digressing…
While on the flight I watched the movie “Love and Mercy” about Brian Wilson and his struggles with mental illness, and how he managed to find his way back after decades of struggling with his demons. It reminded me that I had somehow reached age 47 and had still not listened to the album Pet Sounds in its entirety. Sure, I’d heard just about every track from it at one time or another, but one of the great achievements of Pet Sounds was its place in music history as being one of the first complete concept albums. So I made a mental note to pick up a copy when I got back from my trip.
Sitting around bored last Saturday morning, I remembered, and downloaded both Pet Sounds, and his long delayed follow up album, Smile. So began a 7 day long immersion in listening to these two works on endless loop. At home. In the car. At work. Just about every waking moment has either been consumed with listening to these albums, or reading and learning all I could about them. Yeah, when I decide to do something I have a tendency to go a little overboard.
While watching a documentary on the youtube about the completion of the long unfinished album Smile after 37 years I came across a phrase that resonated with me. Someone in the film, I forget who, referred to “Smile” as being “Sad songs about happy things.” Like a stone dropped into a well, this phrase has just echoed around inside of me for the past several days.
Sad songs about happy things…
While I can’t compare my ramblings with the work of a brilliant musician like Brian Wilson, I don’t think that I could have conceived of a better description of this blog. Amended of course, to be “stories” not “songs”. And so it is that I have finally found a new byline for 20 Prospect.
Sad stories about happy things.
It feels good to be back interwebz. I hope you stick around and keep me company as I return to exploring.
The hawk turns in widening circles high against the cerulean sky
Eyes downcast; a shadow counting time as it passes.
The axis always moving.
Car wheels spin past, never escaping their orbit
while the world unspools beneath their axles.
Their hubs flashing in the sun.
I walk these streets, turning back upon myself
My thoughts returning to points behind me
while the future pushes past like a river.
The sun continues its arc across the sky
The night rolling up behind it, a gaping mouth
pursuing the radiant host from east to west.
How many revolutions does it take to change the world around me?
The sun is low in the sky, and already the days grow short. The last warm days of autumn are quickly slipping through our fingers.
It is time to leave the porch behind. Whatever this blog becomes it will be something new. No more picking through the bones of the past searching for the answers.
I have lived it, I own it, and its memory will inform everything that I do, but the answers do not lie in the past. Peace, happiness, these are not things that hide under rocks in the lost ruins of an ancient time. They live, they breathe, they pulse inside my blood.
Open the heart, it’s time to let them out.
The autumn wind met me as I crested the hill. The long brown grasses swayed beneath azure skies. I squinted in the bright sunlight until all that remained was gold. My heart slowed, and my thoughts drifted away on the wind. Is this what it feels like to be reborn; Cold air on your face, a bright light, and slowly fading memories of the life that came before?
To stand on the brink of a new beginning, unsure of what comes next but ready to put the past behind me. Blinking open my eyes, I take a deep breath, and take that first step.