Sunday, July 06, 2008

when the going gets tough, accidents happen, and that's my only explanation for lots of things, including last night's fireworks' absence of a grand finale, and all kind of other freaks of nature, including a sudden rainstorm in el paso that cost me dinner the other night. but a number of other examples include: a sudden gusher of a rainstorm in pittsburgh pennsylvania one july fourth way back in about 1967, i don't remember exactly but anyone who was there in that era certainly remembers the rainstorm i'm talking about; a huge telephone pole came down, wires and all, and caused my father to jump out of our car into the blinding rain to save the life of someone who didn't even see it. of course we as children (i was 13 or 14) would remember this because why else would one's father jump out of a car into a blinding storm? it seemed like the world was coming apart at its seams.

yet other times, like tonight, the world comes back together, on a small hillside outside of town, above a tiny pond-like lake, with a clear moon and a clear sky, where i played music in a kind of gig that was actually someone's anniversary. we had a stand-in for the guitar, but things worked out very well, especially on my end, where i played all kinds of new songs and just seemed to do well on most of them. the moon over the water reminded me of a time i saw a full moon on the enterprise reservoir out on the border of utah and nevada, and later a guy there at that party mentioned that very same place, as he apparently has owned a few acres out there and has for about forty years. pays all of about $40/yr. in taxes for it, he says, but has water rights, which are quite valuable out there. we talked about the colorado; the hoover dam; route 666 in northern new mexico, which i don't actually know well, and various other topics, covering also england and wales, after the gig.

another fourth of july i was in the city park of iowa city, this was the bicentennial year, 1976, all kinds of charged energy in the air around the fact that the usa was 200 years old and all. but the fireworks were held in a low flat field out by that park, and i think of this now because it's clearly all under a dozen feet of water. but even then, travel there was tough; the field was full of people, and one poor guy got hit by a firecracker and they had to call an ambulance. but the ambulance had trouble getting to him, because there were too many people out there on the field, and they didn't all have the quick wits to just get out of the ambulance's way. when you are in a car, and you hear the siren, it's pretty easy to just move over. but this was in a park, and people were sprawled out on blankets and all, and didn't even fully understand what was going on. nobody was running interference for this ambulance driver.

then, when i got home to black's gaslight village, i'm not sure how it happened, but lots of people were milling around; as i say, there was a lot of energy in the air that night. this one guy threw a firecracker in my direction, which i took as a hostile move, and it hit me in the temple, landed on the ground, and went off; caused ringing in my ear which lasted for maybe ten minutes. on later reflection i decided it may not have been hostile, or maybe hostile on a subconscious level, so, though i felt like i'd gotten a wake-up call in a sense, i eventually let go of it and didn't stay mad at the guy. who knows what happened? when the going gets tough, accidents happen.

had a discussion with my band mate about the oil crisis. not everyone agrees that the world, or even the usa, is really out of oil, or that this is anything but a conspiracy to drive us down; very few people feel it's all just the free market playing havoc with our ordinary routines. i myself have started seeing a bicycle wagon (so that we can stop using the car altogether), hydrogen cars, a vegetable garden, all this stuff we should have been doing anyway, as far as i know. so i see it as an opportunity, even though obviously it will cost everyone a lot of money and agony in the short term, especially poor people and airline travelers. the high prices of gas and food put a lot of pressure on everyone, and, that means accidents will happen., things being what they are. who knows? we're just here at the moment. bicycle lanes are filling up. the drivers that arou out there seem to be angry, as if they know their days are limited.

now, as for enterprise state park, where a sunset and sundown occurred at the lake at the same time, it being a full moon and all, and the simple existence of rock caves took heat stroke from over 100 days and gave me some rest. it was a rainbow gathering, perhaps the third ever, but my first and only, really, aside from some kinds of things that happen around here. i scarcely remember the people; in fact i slept for about a day when i found a cool dark place to get out of the sun. tonight, when the guy was amazed that anyone in southern illinois had even heard of the place, i assured him that i had, and had even been there, and not only that, was reminded of it a little, when the moon rose over the small pond.

now i'm aware that my flashbacks are all very confusing; the rainbow gathering was maybe 1974 or 5, but was clearly on a fourth of july, though there wasn't a firecracker for miles. tonight, the fifth of july actually, after a contentious and somewhat turbulent fourth, in which we all, in carbondale, were deprived of our grand finale, i seemed to get it back, tonight, by that pond, where the anniversary couple just had their own private display, pop pop pop, all over the lake, and i, loading a truck with sound equipment, took a minute and just took it all in. so much rain around here, that there wasn't much chance of it burning down the field or the house or anything else; all the crackers went off just as planned. and, rather than play a hendrix-version star spangled banner as i was tempted to do, this time, for some reason, i set the fiddle down, and just watched. i was tired. i'd played hard; people liked the music; some were talking oil crisis/politics/war or whatever within their own family, none of my business really, on this warm, clear, starry summer night. the children ran down into the field to collect the parachute firecrackers, which i'd never even heard of; i thought it was a little dangerous, but it worked out ok, no one was hurt; the evening passed into a set of holidays, going back many years, that featured parties and gatherings, way out in the country, where folks get together and celebrate. and if they are going to blow gunpowder with colors and all sizzle, i'll watch, if only because it's dangerous, and i want to see it this time, if something is heading my way. not that it would; i've just become superstitious. the price of freedom is eternal vigilance; this is my favorite motto, besides don't tread on me- and, our liberties we will cherish, our rights we will maintain, or something like it, which is the iowa motto. have a good holiday, what's left of it. happy fourth to those of you who are in exile, way out across the ocean maybe, having forgotten, perhaps, that we here blow stuff off in colorful and dangerous display, leaving small clouds of burnt gunpowder hovering over country valleys and small ponds, perhaps offering mosquito protection, if only temporarily. the smell of power spent, used, blazing a kind of memory into us, in its own way, one that the kids who are there will certainly never forget.


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