Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nearing the Final Chorus

Heart Songs
(Part Four)

Warp speed. The dawn of a new century is on the horizon, I’m ruminating in the car as we drive through the stormy Seattle night.

When we get home, I grab the dog and nearly run down the empty road. I need to be out in the elements, unconfined, as this mind-altering epiphany swirls through my head. Music, relationships, meanings. The songs flood through me, bringing pictures, sounds, smells, bombarding my senses. Miles later, when even the dog is tired of walking, I found myself coming full circle: Bonnie’s lightning bolt song from the car in my mind as I stand in front of the house where my relationship is disintegrating.

More floodgates open as I gaze in the windows. I can see him in the den, fiddling with the CD player. I wonder what music he is drawn to tonight. The beat in my head goes on, out of my control—my inner jukebox flips through Dave Matthews and “Crash,” Rod/Bryan/Sting, “All For Love,” Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.” The lyrics to hundreds of songs, carved like petroglyphs in the caves of memory.

I stand there, in a cascading, drenching, roaring white water of music. Dave Koz, Peter White, Boney James, Miles Davis, Najee, Bob James. My mind, filled with music, sparks with images, takes me—

—Off the beaten track in Utah, listening to Michael Jones playing “After the Rain,” the music soaring up red rock canyons in a place where Butch and Sundance once hid out; driving over a summit in the Cascades as the sun dawns on a clear, summer morning, rays of light shooting down the crags like laser beams, Michael’s “Morning Mist,” perfect accompaniment; the Painted Desert during a lunar eclipse, David Lanz’s piano resonating in the night, tickling the stars with “Christofori’s Dream,” as senses are filled with desert perfume.

Where does passion go when it seeks asylum elsewhere? Does it endlessly circle the cosmos, searching, hoping, for a place, a person to call home?  Or is it just a transient dream, an emotion so volatile the sheer momentum of such power must inevitably lead to an implosion?

He had the headphones on now, deep in his own private musical mystery tour as I watched from outside. The rain, my Wurlitzer mind-meld and wet dog drove me indoors. I needed to write down these tumultuous thoughts, this enlightenment, and could feel it all pressing on me. After turning on the computer, and changing into warm clothes, I poked my head in the den to ask what he was listening to. Before I could speak, he turned, pulled off the headphones and said quietly, “We need to talk.”

We sat in the den, our only music the crackling logs in the fireplace, the dripping sound of rain outside. I spoke about lost passion, he voiced responsibilities; I wandered in the past, he had no desire to remember. Had we misplaced the way to common ground? Eventually, I tell him about my evening’s experience, my illuminations about catalyst and background, the power music has to change reality. If anyone could understand my musical epiphany, it should be him, the music man.  But no. My words seem to fall on deaf ears, our efforts to reconnect stall. Either he doesn’t get it, or he gets it too well. Common ground crumbles under my feet.

Withdrawn, preoccupied, he’s already returning to the CD player, headphones in place, before I’ve left the room—and I have to get these thoughts out of my head before I explode.

I need to write.


  1. “We need to talk...”

    One of the most dreded phrases in the English language, I think.

  2. Absolutely. Hard to believe those four little words can be so monumental...