Listening to Nebraska. . .
“My girl she told me last night
I’m not the one.
Half my heart was ripped out
but I still got some.
And if this light should stay red,
well, I’ll be sitting here
listening to Nebraska.”
– The Cash Brothers
There’s a brother of mine (although not by blood) who introduced me to this song. After all the years I’ve known him, if I never see him again, this would be his single gesture for which I am most grateful. This is the quintessential song about having a woman dump you and finding solace behind the wheel while listening to your favorite Springsteen album.
I remember how many times I’ve done exactly that.
And I realize that for the first time in my life, this is no longer an option.
My life has definitely taken a few turns since I’ve started doing this work.
Tonight I sat in a bar with a friend of mine discussing Buddhism and parental relationships over a couple of beers and a crab cake sandwich. If you’d have told me twenty years ago, with my GQ subscription and vampiric lifestyle, that it would come to this, I never would’ve believed it. But Spirit has a way of working things out.
I switch to The Gathering Field, “Lost in America”. Another song from another lonely time. What once rolled over me like a dark and swollen river has now become a warm spring breeze, given substance purely by the dusty soil of memory.
As with so many other things recently, it seems I no longer relate. They pass by me, occasionally grabbing my attention, but shortly relinquishing it to something else entirely.
I dig in the earth now.
Marie and I tend the small garden behind her place like that robot from “Silent Running”. We’ve had a few peppers, and one of the cantaloupes is almost ready for harvest. This is a miracle in and of itself. I’ve wanted a garden for so long now, and even though a few stray plants squatting meagerly in plastic buckets can hardly be called “The Upper 40”, there’s still a sense of accomplishment in watching them grow – a satisfaction and wide-eyed wonder our early agrarian ancestors must have felt as those first slim shafts of green poked their heads up through the loamy soil and bathed themselves in the welcoming light of the sun.
This is what my life has now become. This and a sweat lodge every month or two, the occasional pot luck, and the company of friends.
And beneath it all, the constant murmur of the drum. . .