22 May 2012

Exit, Phase Two: Stop and Hear the Roses

Lately the routine runs something like this: Collapse in bed as early as possible. Read Elmer Kelton's not fantastic but enjoyable The Time it Never Rained for as long as I can keep my eyes open. Pass out. Wake up a few hours later with thoughts racing through my head like, I need to take the car in for an oil change; I need to change our address at the post office but, wait, I don't have a forwarding address yet; the lawnmower will have to be cleaned before anyone buys it; there is a lot of stuff in the pool house to throw away. Eventually my mind settles again and I fall asleep only to wake up an hour before the alarm with similar thoughts.

This phase is decidedly unfun. Life is consumed by often mundane, tedious, and tiresome chores. Possessions become burdens, dead weight that no longer can be ignored or stored in a closet for some future purpose. All those things you thought to save because they held some sort of meaning now seem like junk. Nothing is sacred, nothing feels meaningful. Time to cut those young roots off at the source. Maybe they will take hold somewhere else, maybe not.

There is no way around it, Phase Two sucks. Plus, this phase holds the potential to be the most destructive and detrimental to the human spirit and all the relationships that surround the self. In the middle of this it's important to break from the routine. It's not easy but unless you do you will go insane with anger, confusion, frustration, and exhaustion.

Force yourself to use your senses. The ability to hear is an excellent first step toward reminding the self that there is still a self to pay attention to. Three songs have recently made their way into my life and though it's only May they are all three early contenders for the prestigious Summer Song of the Year award.

Funky, big beat jazz from 1972. The bass riff will stay with you long after the drums have stopped.

More funky, big beat jazz. This time from 1973 Senegal. This amazing song was also recently re-released on the compilation Spiritual Jazz: Esoteric, Modal + Deep Jazz from the Underground 1968-77, where I first heard it.

Not often is Gil Scott-Heron's music labeled "beautiful" so I'll go ahead and do it here: this song is beautiful. It doesn't have the summer evening kind of beats as the first two tracks; this is more an early Saturday morning tune when the air is still cool. From Gil Scott-Heron's 1971 album, Pieces of a Man.

All of these have been on heavy rotation through cars, headphones, computers, and kick-ass vintage tube amps. They’ve helped. It's the little things that make life big.


No comments: