I was walking tonight--I just decided to walk and see where I ended up going. I didn't want to go to the library and do any work and I didn't feel like calling anyone up. I just put on a sweater, took out my music, and started walking.
I realized that I probably could tell the story of the last eight or so years of my life just through Indigo Girls songs. You know when you associate a song of some kind with a time or a place or a person--and whenever you hear it, if you're really paying attention, you can go back there in your head to a moment that would otherwise have been quickly forgotten.
I remember when I was first really introduced to them. I was a freshman in college at Holy Cross. This one guy, Brett, was a big fan, and he used to play their music on his stereo system as well as on his guitar. The first album he brought out to me was Swamp Ophelia.
The songs I liked the best on it were "Least Complicated" and "The Wood Song," but like in most other cases concerning their music, I quickly saw the CD as a whole and ended up enjoying it from beginning to end.
"Least Complicated:" On top of Mount Saint James in Worcester, MA in December--dark, cold, night out, emotionally wrecked by another one of John's mood swings and looking for freedom from that horrible feeling.
"The Wood Song:" New situations, new people, lots of adjustment and wanting things to settle down. Wanting the needless drama to end in favor of more stable relationships with people, in favor of creating a real community.
"Shame On You:" In a car, on a main road, in Connecticut. Person singing in the back seat. Then again, in another car in Boston with John telling me about all of his other relationships.
"Mystery:" Singing in front of the mirror in my bathroom. Liking the unique connection with someone else, but secretly craving that it was more grounded.
"Galileo:" Brian sitting at his computer in his room with that look of cartoonlike anticipatory delight on his face.
"River:" When John went away to Iowa--sitting in my room at home in RI writing in the summer. Wished he was there, knowing it wasn't going to last much longer--directions diverging.
Few years hiatus....
"Get Out the Map:" Any trip on the road, especially in Kingston, MA on the backroads around Route 3--usually winter or early spring, always sunny. My apartment in Plymouth, dressing to work on the Mayflower. New people at work--an overused mix tape in the deck, taking the long way to get coffee on a day off, repeating the best songs.
"Land of Canaan:" Kyle Parrish (unknown reason on this one), living in downtown Plymouth, the party that happened when I moved in there.
"Walk Away:" Finally deciding it was over with John, but with the complete awareness that I didn't want it to be over and would keep looking back anyway.
"Perfect World:" Working out in RI over the winter because I had gained about ten extra pounds--very dry and cold for a long time. Trip to the gym then to get a smoothie, walking around my neighborhood in the cold with a book on tape in the deck, counting the days to resuming work.
"Watershed:" Sitting in my car after finishing the Interpreter's Test talking it out with Chris. Very nervous, very tired, not certain how well I did on it.
"World Falls:" Myself, my philosophy, what grounds me. Seeing the simplicity, seeing the complexity and how beautiful those things in life are.
"Chickenman:" Sara Mahoney (again, unknown reason on this one, too), driving down Route 44 to Plymouth in the morning, few cars out, sunny, road stretches out interrupted ahead of me.
"Kid Fears:" In the office in my apartment in Bridgewater--horrible feeling of nervousness. Knowing what was eventually coming, knowing what I was going to eventually lose--or maybe never actually had.
"Hey Jesus:" Finally losing it--or giving it back perhaps. Alone in my apartment in the living room wrapped in a blanket with my cats, the music on the TV on, needing to sleep, bottle of chardonnay.
"Rise Up:" Walking back from class, needing to be picked up by something--long walk, played it several times. Coming back after my loss--talking to myself in the rear view mirror of my car on a break in the library parking lot. Putting a list of quotes up on the wall at the Mayflower.
"Let Me Go Easy:" Hearing the words you know you need to say, being too weak to say them. Wanting it close and pushing it away by necessity. Anticipating the pain when you cut it from you, and it's so much worse when you're in control because you rip yourself away and create it.
Thank you, ladies, it has be a fantastic ride so far, and I hope you'll continue to be there as it goes on. Couldn't have done it without you.
Songs for anyone else? Any similar phenomena for you? Please feel free to share.