Wednesday, October 29, 2008

River Dreams

These past four nights I have dreamed of rivers, of rivers I've never seen. Wild and racing, deep in a canyon, I crossed the first one riding in a ski lift or sky chair sort of contraption. At first I feared falling, but as the scenery unfolded far below, fright gave way to awe. Its beauty was staggering. The second night found me running beside a river. Low banks were sometimes grassy, often earth and stone. Water burbled up little inlets, making pools where I stopped to drink before dashing onward toward something undefined. Oddly enough, the third river flowed into, not out of, a cave. I followed it, wading back, back, back into darkness; no flashlight, but somehow knowing my way. Soon I was in a lighted room filled with brilliant stones. Turquoise, cat's eye, quartz, hematite, coral and opals glowed on either side of the water, seemingly their own source of light. Last night I sat high on a bluff, overlooking a mighty river. It was much like the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Illinois or the Ohio, but yet was none of these. As I sat watching the water, each season came and went in the span of an afternoon. I awoke from the winter cold, clutching for my blanket. I'm not sure that I want to know what it all means. Some things should just stay a mystery.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

To touch a dream

Dreams are clouds in my mind. Lovely, untouchable, ever changing, yet always there. Everyone dreams. Some people chase their dreams, some actually catch them, some live them, some die never having tried. I have no illusions; my dreams will always be clouds. But to touch a cloud? Yes, on a mountain I have walked among clouds. Their thickness enveloped me, quieting the path like a heavy snow. Sunlight diffused, the landscape glowed, it was surreal. Surreal as a dream. To touch a dream? Perhaps.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beauty of October

Autumn fires are burning
the leaves reduced to ash
Hopeful and expectant
still afflicted by the past
Crisp air takes my breath
almost guilty at my joy
Problems not forgotten
but today I cannot cry
Time will salve the wounds
scars will someday fade
But the beauty of October
Is enough for me today

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jackson Browne at 60

Now that he's shaved off that crazy gray beard, Jackson Browne does not look even close to 60. He's part of that Dick Clark, Bela Fleck, Leo Kottke thing. Even after seeing him un-touched-up at the Fox Theatre Sunday, I'd still "say yeah".

Seems I've always been a huge Jackson Browne fan. That whole So-Cal crew wave, with him, Dan Fogelberg, the Eagles, et al, washed me out to sea and I never really made it back to shore. But I must admit that while I've got all the JB stuff, I haven't been as drawn to most of it in the past 15 years. Sure, every record had a couple of bright spots, but not a consistant, back to back listen like, say, "Late For The Sky". His new CD, however, has him back in my ears. "Time The Conqueror" is Jackson Browne's best work in years. So I was happy to hear most of the new songs live.

While it was unfortunate that he omitted the rally cry of "Drums Of War" ("Why is impeachment, not on the table?") the show hit most of the rest of the new songs. Title track, "Going Down To Cuba" which he did on the Cobert Report, "Giving That Heaven Away", "Off Of Wonderland" and my favorite, "Just Say Yeah." JSY is the kind of love song that you wish someone would write about you. It's sweet and simple and makes you remember how it was when you started to fall in love. Charmingly, Jackson forgot the words (okay, so he IS 60) and started the whole thing over. Oh, God bless him. Made my evening. I'm still saying "yeah".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hit the road

Supposedly eleven people were downsized today from my place of confinement... uh, employment. Three we knew from a different department, then the rumors started to fly about the others. By the time I left for the day, the folks in my area were all a-twitter yet unscathed, but I'm sure that tomorrow when I walk in the door, I'll hear who it was. Or have someone waiting for me with the dreaded box. That's what they do, give you a copier paper box and tell you to clear out and hit the road. No one's safe in today's economy and the industry that I unfortunately stumbled into after my last job ended is no different. But you can't dwell on it or live in fear. Prepare, maybe; let it paralyze you, no.

If we had a national health care plan, I wouldn't even worry about it. Hell, I would have quit where I'm at long ago. Between guitar lessons, gigs and tips, personal chef opportunities and some other odd jobs, I could easily cobble together enough self employment to make ends meet. But we need health insurance and it's too damn expensive to buy on a cobbled income. (And it would cost way more than five thousand dollars, so don't be fooled, friends.) So if I get "the box" I'll head on down the road to Quik Trip or Trader Joe's or someplace else that's always hiring and offers health insurance. Even in a bad economy, a former retail management refugee can always make a comeback. Just go with the road.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Damn you, full moon

Sometimes the full moon is not to be trusted. Will it inspire poetry or song? Will it push the ungrounded to murder? Or will it lurk just beyond the clouds, silently coercing stones to weep? The full moon is volatile. It always captures my imagination.

Many younger nights were spent in the shadow of the full moon, haunting back roads and graveyards. The headstones fascinated us, names and dates, beloved sister, mother, son. We told stories of imagined history, unrequited love, deaths both grisly and noble. Our backs against the cold ground, staring up at the moon, our minds were free to wander. Through the ages, through time and space, into our futures, beyond our past. Would the full moon take our breath if we dared to nod in slumber? Or would our souls seep from us into the graves below, forever intertwined? Damn you, full moon. Give me back my soul. Damn you, full moon. Give me back my youth.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Indian Summer: Forest Park Waterfall

Like a cormorant poses to dry his wings, I sat with my toes spread wide in the sun, waiting for my feet to be dry again. A long bout of wading had left them chilly and pruned, but oh, so happy. It was a glorious afternoon to be perched by a waterfall, even a man made one. The water still streaks and rushes, the sun is still golden and warm. Pine trees still cling to the island, the birds and cicadas still sing their songs. It's a refuge someone made, someone homesick for the mountains. A stream of dreams; if you build it, they will come. And they do. Seldom am I alone here, but I am glad to share. Share the kind wind, the joyful water, the lovely pines, the wonder and the peace of the city's waterfall.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

This little piggy went to market

It’s true, I am pinkily challenged. Not only do I come by short pinkies genetically, but as a child, a precocious, stubborn, oblivious child, I made my way through a baby-gate and onto our farmhouse’s hot floor furnace grate. My left pinky bears the remaining scar from the burn, a scar that prevented full growth and turns the finger slightly inward. Usually I don’t think about my pinky. Why should I? I’m happy to be in possession of all my digits, considering the alternative. But sometimes, oh, I wish that pinky was longer! A couple of nights ago I went to see Lindsey Buckingham. The man has such a unique style. During his solo songs I went down front to stand and stare, watching his hands as they danced over the strings. While it’s his right hand work that puts him into the amazing guitar category, my hand ached as he easily reached a five fret stretch. I looked down at my left hand that had inadvertently tried to follow and make the pattern as I studied. The guy next to me, another player, was doing the same. “Damn, you’re gonna have to cheat that,” he said, “You got a pinky problem.” Yup. Tune it down, capo it up, cheat like hell, or pick a different song……

Friday, October 03, 2008

Gord's still gold

As I stopped in the middle aisle of the Fox Theatre, I almost felt the need to genuflect before taking my seat. Gordon Lightfoot was present. Gordon was a major influence on those of us who travel in the acoustic / folk / rock vein. Along with the other early influences of Dylan, Joni, CSN and Neil, he inspired us, and our subsequent heroes, with lyrics ranging from poetry to literature and showed us the power of acoustic rooted music. Nearly seventy, Gord’s still gold. His voice has worn, but is still expressive, and the less-is-more arrangements allowed his lyrics and melodies to sparkle. My husband lamented the lack of “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” in the set, but I was more than delighted to hear an emotionally wrenching version of "Song for a Winter's Night". The night was moving, driving me to pull out records I'd not listened to in years. The songs are still relavent, still full of strength and beauty, still inspiring. I should have genuflected, yes, I should have.