Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Time Is the Final Currency"

 Noel Paul Stookey once said of his hen-house turned home in Blue Hill, Maine, that sitting on his stairs at 7 in the morning, watching the sun come up over the Atlantic, that he was blessed, having moved away from New York City and all the hustle and bustle.  People thought he was crazy. "There are two ways to miss things," he said, "One is if it goes by too fast, and the other is if we go by too fast.  I've always complained about the bicycles speeding by me as I walk, or the motorcycles, that they zoom down the paths so fast that they miss the beauty that's all around them.  Sometimes it's better to watch the trees grow, and look up into the sky and watch the planes circle and descend toward the airport many miles away.  That time slows down in the rural areas, it's such a wonderful experience.  It's no wonder that people leave the urban areas and go out to the boondocks where they will be away from all the noise and commotion.  I know I would.

There's nothing better in this world than being at my grandparent's lake house in Sulphur, Oklahoma, late at night , looking out the window over the Lake of the Arbuckles, and watching the moon rise, listening to the crickets, sitting in a recliner and letting the world go it's own way.  In quiet reflection I have those memories now.  I don't know if I had them back then.  If I had more money than sense, I'd buy that lake house back. I wrote a blog about it here.

Or perhaps, since I'm in Georgia, I'd go with a house here.  There's a house in Washington County, just across the line from Deepstep, GA, that is a wonderful house out in the woods.  The only people that go by it are hunters during deer season.  Beautiful dark wooden floors and furniture. I found it on Google Earth, and have a mark on it, just in case...  I doubt I'll ever have the money to get a  house like that, but even something similar would be nice.  Something Thoreauish.

I know it's a little early to think about this for me, but it's come up because of my mother's recent heart surgery, and her having to face her own mortality. But she's talked about how she wants to live out the rest of the years of her life. And it got me thinking about the same thing.  Truly, I'm only 36, and I have half of my life left to live, and who knows how the country will go during those years, or the economy, but I do know that I'll make it somehow.  And I also know that, when the time comes for me to grow old, I want to do it away from the city sprawl.  I want to watch the rings form within the trees, year by year.

It's amazing what things will get you thinking about your own mortality.  I guess it's something that's been going through my mind lately.  My mom said that while she knows that God and Heaven await her after she dies, that until then, survival and living are pretty important.  There's a natural fear of death, I think we all have that, but I think the more fearful part is losing control of the life you have left.  I've seen it, through my grandmothers, how dementia and finances and diseases can slip reality away, where dreams become more real than reality, and there are times I wouldn't mind that, but life is so amazing, so beautiful, I don't think I would want to spend the last part of my life stuck in some room in a nursing home, propped up in a wheelchair in some hallway.  I've seen too many old men like this at the rehab place my mom was in, and also at the nursing home my grandmother was in temporarily.  Don't keep an eye on me, dear nurses, take me outside and let God keep an eye on me. He's done that well so far.  Let me see the cardinals flit from tree to tree, and the summer wind ease up gently against my face, and then on to places unknown.  It's better this way.

I also say all this because I've heard some great music lately, a pattern in the writings of some great rock songwriters, as they look at their own lives and see death a'coming.  The advantage that they have is that they can express their feelings (much like I do here in a blog) through the art media that they are known for.  And while they create their works, much like the artwork on the blog above, they release it for us to hear and see and say, "yeah, I get you." Thankfully, with the Internet being what it is, I can put together those works here on the blog.

Bob Dylan took a weekend and wrote all of the songs in Time out of Mind, a masterpiece of blues and introspection that I absolutely love.  I think he, like the other's I'll show below, got to the point where they calmly look at their old age and see death coming, but not quite here yet.  It's off in the future a little ways, but close enough to pay attention to.  The track I love , well, I like all of them, but the one that fits this blog is "It's Not Dark Yet."


His tour mate for the past few years, Paul Simon did a track on You're the One that sounded like it would be his last album (he's done 1.5 since (the one he did with Brian Eno was not worth the .5), and it deals with the end.  The image where he can "release [his] fists at last" is so powerful.  Such a haunting song.  And all of these are.  Nostalgic, Raw, leaving the singer exposed without many instrumental backups to keep the voice hidden.


Finally, check out David Crosby's new studio album, Croz as a wonderful mixture of introspective songs and lamentations about the way the world is (although not so much that the ideology sticks out like a sore thumb) The first track has a minor key meandering sound, while talking about the city, and it reminded me of the other songs that deal with age and mortality.  His other one that fits this is "Time is the Final Currency" from the album CPR he did with his biological son, but it's harder to find on Youtube.

1 comment:

  1. Denzil, you got me thinking about that episode of The Twilight Zone, where Henry Bemis wanted time to read books. He would read during work, at home and everywhere he went. At mid-episode, there was a nuclear explosion that razed his city to the ground. Henry stayed alive because he sneaked in the vault to read a book and a magazine. At first, he was in deep panic, but when he saw the library, he had a reason to live because this means he gets to read all that he wants. The name of the episode is called, "Time Enough At Last." Every time I watch this episode, I think about you.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing with us. A lot of people don't understand the true value of time.