Coming home from Nashville:
The image that will stay with me is of a man on his knees. He is not still in his supplication, but moving, digging through the words, reaching restlessly for diamonds. He is so close I can see the bend of his leg, the outline of his knee cap, the arch of muscle and sinew; the reality of flesh hidden yet visible, the tangle of matter and ghost.
Those hands, now clenched over the heart, now open to invite the spirit; fingers barring chords over an absent guitar neck or spreading in a V of benediction.
What stays with me is the sense of movement. The early songs are like waves. The ebb and flow of Suzanne, of Sisters of Mercy, of Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, lures me into the river to rock in the lazy embrace of the children and the heroes and the seaweed. Then somewhere along the way, the dynamic becomes more intentional, reflecting not an aimless float with the current, but a journey. The rhythms evoke images of camel caravans, become the steady beat of a person not marching, but journeying, traveling through life. I look up and down the row and see what I hope he sees - rapt faces, radiating love as their bodies sway side to side like pilgrims on their beasts, or forward and back like Jews praying at the wall.
What stays with me is the gentle intensity, the feral grace, the modest bewildered joy. The love. The prayer. The longing.
O blessed is the longing that brings us again and again to this place where the shoreline meets the sea.
From bitter searching of the heart, we rise to play a greater part. Frank Scott (Although I would never have heard it if it weren't for Leonard Cohen).
Phoenix, April 2009; Nashville, Nov. 5, 2009; San Jose, Nov. 13, 2009.