Sometimes the fog lifts and the inner film strip clickety-clacks its way fourteen or fifteen years into the past and I see.
And I remember.
For just a moment I allow myself to enjoy the memory of the breathtaking and the beautiful. For just a moment there is awareness of the reawakening I underwent and then I screw the top back on the jar.
But sometimes I wonder if that is the best course of action or if it is smart.
Sometimes I wonder if maybe there is another way to catch lightning in a bottle and or rope the moon so that I can pull it down to earth.
I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh, we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day
Heroes- David Bowie
Rewind Is Broken
Sometimes I stand under the moon and silently say “I remember” and then softly ask “Do you?”
The cynic says “no” and the optimist says “forever” while the realist says maybe.
Somewhere in the mist and fog the cynic and the optimist move from their spaces and engage in hand-to-hand combat each determined to end the other and prove their supremacy.
The realist never engages with either, he just says rewind is broken, never specifying whether it is cassette or disc he is referring to.
Instead he makes like Abraham arguing with G-d except instead of arguing for ten men and eventually fighting for one he argues for time.
But whether it is for 10 thousand, 10 years, 10 minutes or 10 minutes none can say because he doesn’t know himself.
Maybe the not knowing matters and maybe it doesn’t. He doesn’t spend much time wondering and or worrying because things happen or they don’t and most don’t require any help or effort from others.
32.5 Years Later
The kids ask me how I know so many old songs and I say “Israel.”
They aren’t old enough to appreciate what sort of experience you have to have to remember it decades later and recognize how profound an impact it had upon you.
The echoes of teenage voices singing along with Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and The Who can still be heard but the impact of the lyrics has changed as I have.
“It is too hard to work like this. Too hard for me to understand. You make it too hard.”
He can’t see my face and if he could he might choose other words because mask I need to wear hasn’t been applied yet.
One deep breath, a quarter turn and a smile that family would call fake do a poor job of camouflaging my true thoughts.
“Why do you look angry? You are the one who does not communicate. You are the one causing trouble.”
Another deep breath and a silent prayer that he’ll be struck by lightning follow.
The prayer is unanswered but his words are not.
“Sir, I am not willing to be mistreated by anyone. If you are unhappy with me I suggest we go our separate ways. Otherwise I need you to adjust your manner and your tone of voice.”
“Are you telling to go fuck myself?
“No sir, I am not.”
“How do I know that?”
“You’ll have to trust me when I say if I ever did so you would know.”
“I don’t like the way that sounds. It feels disrespectful.”
He is correct, I don’t respect him but I won’t say so.
“I am sorry you feel that way. If you feel you can’t communicate with me I will be happy to leave.”
“No, you can stay, but you should know no one talks to me this way.”
I don’t tell him that is the problem.
Back in the car the road stretches out endlessly in front of me and I sing to Kathy about being lost even though she is sleeping.
Once not so long ago I sang this with others as our bus rolled out of Jerusalem and headed towards the north.
We never imagined the questions we had then might follow us into the future.
I promised someone to write a song or symphony for them.
Sometimes when I hear this cover it reminds me of it and I think about how very much I would like to be able to do so.
I think about how I want to be able to paint a picture, film a movie and write a screenplay that all tie into it.
Because the song that I hear singing inside wants to be expressed in a way in which it is not just heard but understood.
Because no one wants to be the man or woman in the space suit…forever.
Explorers may have wanderlust and a need to do and see things but they want to be able to take off their helmet and touch, taste and smell the world around them.
He tells me to stop beating upon the wall and to accept it as being part of the landscape.
“This I cannot do and not because it is my nature to tear down walls but because this one is harming you. This one is dangerous and that is unacceptable.”
“You must accept it. You have to let it go and know that I know what I am doing.”
I shake my head.
“No. Sometimes you think you know and then things happen that make it clear you know nothing. Sometimes you have an awakening and it is so profound you know life just changed.”
War breaks out and the battle rages with neither side refusing to give an inch.
There is a story here that may one day be told with a big smile but that moment feels very far away.
The clickety-clack of the film strip resumes and an epic scene is shared and then the screen goes…black.