They are awesome.
as someone wise once said, “life is too long”. morbid, right? but why does it have to be. it’s something we all face - some sooner than others. it’s always been a frightening topic for me to think about and / or discuss until recently. i am happy in life and love. though not perfect by any means, happy nonetheless. though it still makes me cringe, i am at a stage in my life where death is a responsibility i must face head on and, in a way, plan for. that said - until my final will is in order, these are my wishes:
*there’s no crying in baseball and there’s to be no crying at my rest. well, maybe a little, but i want tears of laughter and joy. i want my life to have been something to celebrate. after all, my life insurance plan(s) should leave everyone somewhat happy.
*no funeral homes. no traditional cemeteries. i wish to be buried naturally back into the earth to be a part of nature’s rebirth of something new. sounds a little hippie to many i am sure, but it’s my wish. i don’t want to be laid in some depressing cemetery plot among so many chemically-altered mummies. no disrespect of course, just not my way of moving on. my cousin turned me on to this incredible site that works throughout and promotes a sustainable ‘afterlife’. by all means, check it out: http://naturalburial.coop/about-natural-burial/
*no traditional wakes. i want a party where everyone in attendance (above the age of 21) is required to take a shot of mezcal. not just any but: del maguey single village mezcals chichicapa special cask finish. 100 bottle release so get on it. there is a saying attributed to oaxaca (where mezcal originates) regarding the drink: “para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también” (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.) how appropriate. there are a couple of rituals associated with taking a shot of mezcal. one is saying “arriba, abajo, al centro y pa ´dentro”, (up, down, center and in) before the first shot. the other involves spilling a small portion onto the ground as an offering to the mayahuel, the goddess of maguey and the fertility of the earth. also very appropriate. some say that mezcal is often considered an aphrodisiac, which just furthers my request that everyone indulge since i want lots of love as opposed to sadness.
*bury me in something pretty that will decompose just as naturally as i will. something dainty, girly. flowers that will symbolize my life, my loves. orchids perhaps. while beautiful, they require love and attention, admiration and commitment.
*music must fill the air. lots of music. otis, etta, dylan. rock ‘n roll - real rock. whitney, tina, aretha. soul. dance. yes, lots of dancing - cut from that one scene in dirty dancing. you know, the one where all the dancers have come together to “shake it up baby” and no one even takes notice of baby carrying the watermelon. yes. that kind of mindless dancing. and if you must play any downtempo music i’ll allow the beatles’ “let it be” or alison krauss’ “down to the river to pray”. if i choose to add any others i’ll include them in the final draft of my lw & t.
*i’ve always loved cedar. if they would allow me to be buried in it, the hope chest my grandmother gave me before she passed away is what i’d choose. it is my most precious belonging. my second option, should i have children and choose to pass on the hope chest to my very own, would be the dresser that i now own that belonged to my parents. it is a reminder of where i came from, however broken it may have been. love conquers all and i am lucky to receive it on both ends.
*i want a stone with my initials hand-engraved to lie on the ground above my resting place. i also wish for a tree to be planted with yet another stone quoting a piece of one of my favorite pieces of literature:
“all that is gold does not glitter,
not all those who wander are lost;
the old that is strong does not wither,
deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
— j.r.r. tolkien
these are my wishes thus far. my crazy, always-changing, indecisive mind may wander further but for now .. please heed my instructions and all will be well. or i’ll come back from the dead as that annoying bird that lives just outside each of your windows and sing you into some kinda crazy. don’t doubt me.
the end. well, not yet, but just in case.
love: after a long day of vd work, walking into a dark studio and the words “we are going to dance”. high above hangs a shiny disco ball, spinning and reflecting tiny specs of light mimicking the sparkle of stars on a clear night. from a short distance away, music - from my first visit to this studio - plays. in front of me, a tall form reaches for me, takes hold of me and we dance. a kiss, a smile, repeat. laughter ensues after a common flashback to our youths - skating rink, couples skate. an intense look into each other’s eyes and a feeling of euphoria sweeps over me. no roses, no chocolate - just pure love betweens lovers.
“anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.”
— rose franken
for someone who does not necessarily believe in luck, i feel an ounce of it but rather consider myself blessed, fortunate. to have this kind of love and compassion i have found with this someone is so foreign, yet so familiar. it is effortless. it is selfless, romantic. it is everything that is good in the world.
“love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
— robert heinlein
Though I have been following The Avett Brothers for quite some time, I have only ever downloaded their songs via iTunes - therefore keeping me from discovering the following “mission statement”. I have recently started listening to vinyl again. It takes me back to childhood, sitting and listening to records at home. Yesterday I, along with my cousin, wandered into a local record store. I haven’t seen that much vinyl in a very long time. I exited with two purchases: “The Best of Otis Redding” by none other than Otis Redding and “I and Love and You” by the Avett Brothers. Last night I listened to both in their entirety. Both so full of soul, love and passion, but also full of truth. It’s a rare thing to have people in your life that will just sit and listen to music, taking hold of how profound some lyrics can be, discussing the nature of love and “I love you’s”. I am fortunate. If you are not in the least bit affected by the following words, your soul, your passion for life and love is completely lost - and so are you.
«The words “I” and “Love” and “You” are the watermark of humanity. Strung together, they convey our deepest sense of humility, of power, of truth. It is our most common sentiment, even as the feeling of it is so infinitely uncommon : each to proclaim these three words with his or her very own heart and mindset of reason (or lack thereof); a proclamation completely and perfectly new each time it is offered. Uttered daily and nightly by millions, the words are said in an unending array of circumstances : whispered to a newborn in a mothers arms; shared between best friends on the playground; in the form of sympathy; said by a girl to a boy, as the respect continues but the relationship does not. It is said too loudly by parents to embarrass children in the company of their friends, and by grown children - to their fading parents in hospital beds. The words are thought in the company of the photograph and said in the company of the gravestone. It is how we end our phone calls and our letters… the words at the bottom of the page that trump all those above it, a way to gracefully finish a message, however important or trivial, with the most meaningful gift of all : the communication of love. And yet the words themselves have been the victims of triviality, a ready replacement for lesser salutations among near strangers, burst forth casually as “love ya.” Truly? To what degree? Why, how much, and for how long? These are questions befitting of the stature of love, though not the everyday banter of vague acquaintance. The words have also been twisted by the dark nature of deceit : To say “I love you” with a dramatic measure of synthetic emotion; a snare set by those who prey upon fellow humanity, driven to whatever selfish end, to gain access to another’s body, or their money, or their opportunity. In this realm, the proclamation is disgraced by one seeking to gain rather than to give. In any case, and by whatever inspiration, these words are woven deeply in to the fibers of our existence. Our longing to hear them from the right place is maddeningly and simultaneously our finest strength and our most gentle weakness.
The album “I and Love and You” is inashamedly defined by such a dynamic of duality. As living people, we are bound by this unavoidable parallel. We are powerful yet weak, capable yet temporary. Inevitably, an attempt to place honesty within an artistic avenue will follow suit. This is a piece which shows us as we are : products of love surrounded by struggle. The music herein is, in many ways, readable as both a milestone and an arrival. A chapter in the story of young men, it bridges the space between the uncertainty of youth and the reality of it’s release. The record is full with the quality of the question and response. As far as questions go, there are plenty - normally residing within the tone and delivery of the lyrics themselves, which, ironically, are sung with so much confidence. Among songs and thoughts so driven and purposeful, the most basic relatable doubt comes through with a resounding clarity. Outside of the eternal theme of romantic love, the album speaks thankfully upon a landscape of light-filled rooms, word-filled pages, time machines, forgiveness, singing birds, ocean waves, art, change, confessions of shortcomings, and reasons to continue on. Hope and a cause for smiling follow naturally. In the midst of all this, there are allusions to the less-than-ideal conditions of life : the loss of memory, the inability to control temper, insecurity, indecision, jaded indifference, and the general plague of former and current weakness. “I and Love and You” is an album of obvious human creation, chracterized by it’s best and it’s worst. Emotional imperfection is a reality for those who recorded the piece, just as it is for those who will hear it. The conclusion of the song from which the title is taken admits that the words “I love you” have become “hard to say”. And perhaps that difficulty is as common as it’s counterpart. Perhaps the inability to say these heaviest of words is as much a part of life as the lighthearted candor of those who say them without any difficulty at all. And so it ends with the phrase whispered to and by those of us most defeated and most elated… I and love and you…»
feel-good song of the day
Vegan life begins in less than one week. The next few days will help shape the perfect ending to one lifestyle and beginning for another.
My baby sister arrives for a visit in less than 48 hours. We have plans to tour The Biltmore Estate, taste some wine, eat some food and meet some people. From there we head east to Central North Carolina to visit our Mom, where we will cruise around Old Salem, catch up on girl talk and feast on some good ‘ole fashioned, homemade Southern food - perfect way to say goodbye to cheese. After we part with Mom we will be heading back to Asheville, do some hiking, have a few beers in Beer City USA with friends, soak in some art and dine on some local cuisine. A visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip to downtown Greenville to take in the scenery of Falls Park at the river and, again, dine on some deliciousness.
I know it seems like her entire visit will consist of eating, and it’s mostly true. We are lovers of food. Sunday marks my last day with dairy, and while the parting will be bittersweet I intend to make the most of my final days with it.
Finally, to celebrate my first couple of days in my new lifestyle, I will be attending the Amos Lee show at The Orange Peel. I love him and his voice has a way of making me fall in love .. not necessarily with anyone, but any thing. Love has an all new meaning these days.
So .. I rarely get embarassed. The number of videos in existence on YouTube and the Internet are proof enough of my thick skin BUT there was an incident earlier tonight that left me in both physical and mental pain.
I run (most) every night. It is so nice being able to run with such a view of the mountains and challenging myself with the rough terrain. While out and about tonight I was maintaining a good speed and found myself completely lost in the music of my “Workin’ It” playlist on my iPod when I noticed a car coming (I run against oncoming traffic and on the pavement until I see a car). At that moment, while singing along to Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby”, I hit an uneven patch of loose gravel and out my legs went from under me. I somehow managed to land directly on my hip, otherwise unscathed.
Miraculous, right? Not quite. At this point I am quite a ways from home and have caught the attention of traffic. I immediately jump up, mostly to avoid any strange men stopping to ‘offer any assistance’ and realize that the damage may not only be mental .. I hop along to the opposite side of the road to venture back toward home only to realize that my hip is out of place (insert senior jokes here). I somehow made it back home. Between my starving belly and the notion of a big shower to sit in while warm water falls and massages my back, I pushed through.
Post-shower and pj time, I make myself some dinner and immediately head for the fridge, where a bottle of “Two-Buck Chuck” awaited me. Without hesitation I poured the remainder of it’s contents into a large glass, ignoring any and all wine laws and manners.
And now I sit (awkwardly) in bed, reminiscing on what exactly went wrong. Is it that I was born a Johnson, meaning I have the curse of eternal injury scripted into my DNA? Or was it basic clumsiness, which I have been known for in the past? Or maybe I subconsciously fell on purpose to avoid anymore running for a while? Either way, this 28-going-on-81 year old will be sore as hell tomorrow and possibly even hungover. Regrets? None, except the fact that I waved on a nice-looking gentleman in a moment of embarassment and panic.
Ohhh the possibilities ..
Today … my beloved Whitesnake says (well sings) it best.
Baby, baby, you’re a liar .. my video of the day.
Not only was “An Education” a great movie, but the soundtrack was amazing as well. Most of us have had a “Smoke Without Fire” person at one time or another.