I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you againJames Taylor
Swate drames uhn flahn’ mushaines ian paces own thuh growuhn’.
I can’t help myself. I still speak in Appalachian, mostly to my dog and sometimes my wife. I don’t sing in my native dialect, though. I just wanted to see what it would look like transliterated and typed it out.
I miss the lush green mountains of the East. Michelle and I both love rain. And mountains. On a day off we head to the mountains more than the ocean. If we see it’s raining in the mountains we’ll often take an impromptu day off and chase the storm. We found Green Valley Lake by accident, chasing rain.
Everyday I daydream of our move. We’re thinking Portland, Maine or Winchester Virginia. I’m tired of the desert. I don’t want to wish my life away, but the next three years can’t pass quickly enough. I’m going to miss the ocean, but there’s another ocean or a river somewhere for us to live by.
My intention, yet another metaphorical brick paving my personal road to hell with unbought stuffed dogs (some Hemingway fan somewhere will someday get that literary joke), was that this blog would be about my music career touring the United States and a chunk of the world with various artists, bands, groups and productions. I’m finding it very difficult to write about those years without manslpaining why I got into the music business in the first place. It’s not an easy explanation. Sure I could give a paragraph and summarize it all very neatly, but my desire for self-expression, in spite of what anyone thinks, overrides that very quickly. I’d ask for forgiveness or permission, but I’ve gotten to the age I don’t need or care about either.
You know, the joke about the older man being interviewed by the twenty-something HR girl? She asks him what he thinks his worst trait is and he says “honesty.” She replies that she would think that honesty is a positive trait to which he replies, “I don’t give a damn what you think!”
It’s weird. I care and I don’t care. I think I’m just sleep deprived from too much school and work. Sometimes my words flow better with the adrenaline of exhaustion, but I second guess myself and want to edit more. Anyway, lets get to the point, shall we?
As I begin examining and discovering my own latent reasons for adopting a gypsy lifestyle in service to those with artistic talent I’m seeing aspects of my life I had not even thought about. For me this is a cathartic experience. There’s also a dangerous feeling of overexposing myself.
I have no desire to be brief. I truly hope I don’t lose both of my readers over taking my time and meandering down whatever country roads I feel necessary. Trust that we are about to leave Romney, together, even though I could easily stay here for a few more posts.
The tony side of LA is on fire this morning. As one takes Sunset to the sea, a la Steely Dan, one leaves the grit of Hollywood to pass through the flamboyance of West Hollywood to be surrounded by the mansions of Bel Air to pass north of Westwood and UCLA to cross the 405 and enter the wealthy suburbs of Brentwood. The hills become a bit more untamed. The canyons dead-end, instead of passing over Mulholland, dotted with largish homes. Brentwood turns into Pacific Palisades where Sunset meets the sea at the Pacific Coast Highway, smack into the Gladstone’s parking lot.
The drive is lovely. It’s one of the first things I did when I got here 30 years ago. The scenery is unchanged. The road the same windy thread from downtown LA to the sea. I drove from downtown near Dodger Stadium, all through those neighborhoods, and had a seafood salad at Gladstone’s, so fresh and primordial that I discovered a little crab, alive, drenched in blue cheese dressing, between the size of a nickel and a quarter, at the bottom of the bowl. Cute little crustacean, it was. I’m fairly certain I didn’t eat him alfresco, but I don’t remember tossing him back into the sea, either. Today, all I can think about is wishing I would have cleaned him up and tossed him back into the ocean. I’m a different person now. I’d do it today.
So we’ve talked about the fire. Let me turn my attention now towards rain. It Never Rains in Southern California, as Albert Hammond sang back in 1972, but last winter we had much more rain than usual.
People either don’t realize or they forget that Southern California is a desert by the sea. If it weren’t for man’s intervention, this would just be brown sandy desert with very little green growth and no palm trees. But every year, sometime between November and April, it does rain either a little or a lot. The mountains green up. There were so much rain this past winter that the Hollywood hills literally looked like they had green hair growing out of them. The sky was so clear in Los Angeles that you could actually see the mountains way off in the distance and they were snowcapped. I had to check my sanity a few times, believing for moments that I was actually in Salt Lake City.
By June the greenery of the mountains and hills have turned brown. And by August and September any spark could set that dessicated flora on fire, as they did today.
I’ve never had to run from a fire. I’ve had to escape two different fireworks accidents over the years, one when I was younger than five, and another on New Year’s Eve in Rio at the turn of the century. Yes, sigh, another story for another time, which we will get to. I promise.
But I’ve had to escape a flood. You see, somewhere around 1970 or 1971, the tail end of a hurricane came up the Atlantic Coast and dumped butt-loads of rain in the mountains of West Virginia and everywhere else.
Perhaps you’ve heard me mention the little creek behind where I lived as a boy. That gentle little stream, the North Branch of the Little Cacapon, merges with the South Branch, which flows into the Potomac, which of course flows into the Atlantic Ocean. So my little stream, barely six feet across, swoll up to way over fifty feet in width and came to just within a few feet of our home. Mom and Dad bundled my brother and me up, and we drove away in the middle of the night to somewhere safe nearby, and waited for the waters to subside, which they did.
I don’t know if I was scared or not. I remember it as an adventure. But it gave me one more reason to respect Mother Nature who I knew could be much more of a bitch than portrayed in the margarine commercials of the day.
Next week, we’ll be back to more music and the foundations of my Classic Rock upbringing, seeds planted by the age of ten that would sprout as I hit puberty and beyond. Those seeds would ultimately grow into the mighty oak of my love of music and that is what would drive me into the music business.
In the meantime, ✌🏽❤️🖌
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