Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Many More?

I'm listening to Pandora...Paul Simon radio on this gloriously gloomy day.  They just played a live version of my favorite Simon classic, Trains in the Distance, which I haven't heard in ages.  It's a bit obscure.  That's probably why I like it best, and also because it reminds me of a perfect post-college weekend in Chicago.  We were in a little Irish bar in Lincoln Park on a gorgeous afternoon.  The door was propped open to let in the chalky spring air.  We were all there and all singing, toasting and making lots of plans for not only the weekend, but the great and promising expanse of life ahead.  Those were the days of no looking back.  Now Into the Mystic is on.  It's in my top three Van Morrison favorites.  There are a million and one memories -both happy and sad-  that flash through my mind every time I hear Van Morrison crooning.  Moondance was supposed to be the song Coach and I danced our first dance to, but the band screwed up.  That was literally the only thing that didn't go as planned on our wedding day as far as I know.  Well, that and snow on October 21st.  I'm feeling overcome with nostalgia today, and at a bit of a loss for words.  Except for this passage from The Sheltering Sky...words I understand more poignantly today than when I was first struck by them decades ago in those days of only looking forward.
Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life.  It's that terrible precision that we hate so much.  But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well.  Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.  How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it?  Perhaps, four or five times more.  Perhaps not even.  How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?  Perhaps twenty.  And yet it all seems limitless.
 - Paul Bowles