Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Code

I spoke with my friend Angus a couple of nights ago and he sarcastically uttered something along the lines of "awesome, we're all gonna die soon" in reference to this week's string of globally warm 40- and 50-degree high temperatures here in the East. He has been riding his bike all around Cleveland, Ohio to and from his job at a local bookstore, presumably stocking shelves and reading story time to three-to-five year old kids. I anxiously await the day that he reads My Pet Goat.

The unseasonably warm temperatures create a winter of far more discontent than one filled with blizzards and ice-slicked roads. The reason? Dread. While I cherish the days that I can go outside without a coat, not having to worry about it being stolen from a bar, I dread the onset of freezing weather and the idea that it may never come. Worse yet, the idea that it may not arrive until mid-January and, by logic, stick around until April. I say give me my winter, and that right early. I could more than stand a few dumpings of snow, and the particularly clear way the night sky looks when the mercury drops into the teens. When the stars shine so brightly that they instigate the battle of how long you can stand being outside looking at them before you rush back into the cabin's warm fire-lit shelter, confined to the disappointing glow of filament light. All this, and the promise of a springy March. Instead I run with SportHills and a long sleeve instead of three layers on top, thick tights and a stuffed sock in my crotch to keep warm, and count my blessings that I can get on clean trails for another week.

The warm weather also facilitated a late night drive a few hours ago with no weather worries. On the road I was able to reacquaint myself with one of my all-time favorite albums, and one that I think is one of the most underrated albums of all time by a popular artist, Pearl Jam's No Code. It marks the beginning of PJ's transition from a grunge/hard rock band into the more subtle, ambient sounds that ruined albums like Binaural. As they matured out of vs. and Vitalogy their lyrics become more thoughtful, touching on themes like the transition into adulthood and the emotions that come with it - drifting away from old friends (In My Tree and Off He Goes), bitter respect toward love and lack thereof (Hail, Hail) and self-righteously shunning the mainstream culture (Habit and Mankind) before summing it all up on a beautifully hopeful note with Around the Bend:
I am wishing you a well
Mind at peace within your cell
Covers up, I cast you off
I'll be watching as you breathe
I lie still, you move, I send
You,... off around the bend

I hold your head deep in my arms
My fingertips they close your eyes
Off you dream, my little child
There's a sun around the bend
There's a sun around the bend

All the evenings close like this
All these moments that I've missed
Please forgive me, won't you, dear?
Please forgive and let me share...
With... you... around the bend

You're an angel when you sleep
How I want your soul to keep
On and on around the bend

Please, give this album a listen whether or not you are a Pearl Jam fan. In fact, come on over to the Quabbin Qountry Qabin, I'll be more than happy to oblige you with a full listening experience and maybe even some venison. Let's be mid-to-late 20-somethings for 45 minutes. Lord knows I am quite experienced at it, even at this young age.

Off to explore Mount Lincoln on foot,

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