Sunday, October 21, 2007

Old Fruit and Autumn

Wrinkled Crabs
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
Sometimes I'll see a nice looking piece of fruit in a bowl, but when I pick it up and inspect it closer or go as far as to take a bite out of it, I realize it isn't very fresh. In fact, the overly ripe fruit is probably closer to rotten than it is fresh. That's the analogy that seems to apply to my life at this point in time. Don't get me wrong, at 47-years-old, I'm not writing myself off as rotten or dead, but I am getting pretty far along like that piece of fruit that's been passed over.

If life were condensed into the 12 months of the year, middle to late August is probably where one would find me. However, as I look at the world around me here in mid-October with the Wyoming autumn on the wane, I seem to relate to much of its imagery.

At first glance, most strangers probably think I'm in decent shape, but any feats of athletics from my youthful past are either impossible or dangerous if I were to try them now. The other day I looked at a wide open field and thought to myself how inviting it was to perform a series of back handsprings (i.e., flip-flops) across the soft turf as I used to twenty-some years ago. Considering the havoc it might wreak on my middle-aged wrists, back and ankles, I opted for a few simple cartwheels and called it good. Another twenty-some years from now, I'll probably have to settle for simply walking across that same field.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Midwest Midnight

Goodyear's Badside
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
The following was written for National Public Radio in response to their request (from listeners) to answer the following question: What music has changed your life?

Growing up in Akron, Ohio, working-class rock-and-roll music seemed to find its way into nearly every home—ours was no exception. And while Dylan, Springsteen, and Mellencamp permeated the airwaves, the one song that stirred me to my soul (and still does to this day) was written and performed by a singer and band that fell just short of national stardom status—Midwest Midnight by The Michael Stanley Band.

Stanley once said that Midwest Midnight was, "...the most honest song I've ever written," and it was the first song that spoke to me about my hometown—or at least that part of the country that I called home. Stanley's anthem left me feeling that there was no denying who I was or where I was from—no matter where I chose to live following my high school graduation in 1978.

It's funny how one can know the words of a song by heart after all these years and still only possess a vague notion of the song's intended message—such is art. Today, the lyrics of Midwest Midnight are still abstract to me and at 47-years-old, I would have thought this little mystery would have been solved by now. Perhaps I really don't need to know what Stanley was trying to say because his song has woven its way into the fiber that defines me, which is understood, but not necessarily articulated.

Living in the wide-open spaces that straddle the Wyoming and Montana border, I consider myself a Westerner now. And while my taste in music has expanded exponentially over the years, every now and then my MP3 player will select Midwest Midnight in the shuffle mode and I'm instantly taken back to the world of Northeast Ohio—its overcast skies, industrial skylines and its proud, working-class ambience.

Excerpt from Midwest Midnight

With thirteen lovers I hid beneath the covers
got staples in my hands for my time
With the radio low so the folks don't know
I proceed with my passion of crime...
And though somewhat obtuse, I've been told this abuse
will more than likely make me go blind
But with a heart that's aching, it's a risk worth taking
'cause true love, they say, is so hard to find...

Why can't she see what she's doing to me
If that bandstand girl only was here
And I'm living the dream, getting lost on the screen,
doing Presley in front of the mirror...
And I'm hanging around, getting high on the sounds
of the ladies and electric guitars
Cross a double yellow line to who knows where
with six sets of glory at night in some bar...

Midwest midnight
Ten thousand watts of holy light
from my radio so clear...
Bodies glistening, everybody's listening
as the man plays all the hits that you want to hear.

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Digs Morning

Bed & Chair
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
My friend Ken just moved into a new home. He's 60-plus-years-old, so I know he's been through all of this before. He slept in his new place for the first time yesterday. I know that feeling—especially the awakening in the morning to the new setting. It's akin to being reborn. The strangeness of the new surroundings at first is momentarily adventurous, perhaps like waking in a new lover's bedroom for the first time.

Typically one is up late the night before getting the new bedrrom properly arranged, so by the time they go to bed and close their eyes, they really haven't spent much time looking at it. I suppose that's why it's so fresh and new the next morning.

This reformed awakening has a stange way of making one feel like they have a renewed lease on life—or at least it's a new chapter in their life. However, there is the downside to this unique sensation—the agonizing process of moving.

I think I'll rearrange my bedroom one of these nights, maybe I'll wake the next day with this same sensation.