Wednesday, Dan Fogelberg's birthday, dawned a beautiful midwestern summer day. An uncommon day for August, the morning was cool, the breeze was gentle, and I was filled with the freedom that a weekday off work on a such brilliant morning provides. Guitar, CD's and coffee in hand, I headed North to Peoria. Why? Who knows. It seemed fitting. Decades had passed since I last saw Peoria in 1982. While everything around it has changed, the Illinois River remains a constant, just like the Mississippi of my childhood.
Having had enough of tall buildings and concrete, I escaped to a park outside of town, spread my blanket under a comfy tree, played to the river and did some thinking. What do I value? What makes me whole? What is it I am waiting for? Why? Why...... The answers held more truth than I was accustomed to hearing from myself, but in its very speaking, part of the weight I'd been carrying for so long was lifted from my shoulders. I needed to believe.
With that moment of catharsis, I headed off to a local winery for a late lunch. Red wine, cheese and bread, then playing more music on the patio. No one minded, no one knew or cared that I had not really played out in years. They hummed along, some sang with the older tunes. We did indeed drink a toast to innocence, to Dan, to time. Then at 5:30 (6:30 EST) I played the song I'd been saving all day, "The Reach". Someone whispered, "I love this song." Harmony ascended and as if on que, the golden late afternoon sun kissed the arbor, setting everything aglow. It was magic.
Back on the road, I took the long way home. It was a sunset to savor, a day to relish. Unbeknownst to him, Dan gave me a lot of gifts in his lifetime. Now even from beyond, he gave me one more. Thank you, Dan. Happy Birthday.