A Decade of Slowly Opening Eyes

I smoke a clove cigarette I don’t need as I watch traffic pass by. My arm slinks gently outside the window to keep most of the trailing smoke from blowing in. The summer has broken. The air outside is moist and cool. I had been sitting on the back porch when I lit my clove–but it was too dark.

It reminded me too much of the quiet in the country where I grew up. Don’t take me wrong: there’s nothing bad about the quiet. There’s nothing unsettling about having the crickets and owls as your company. I’ve seen it from inside my cozy shelter many times before; it’s something I know so completely that I can stand to return to it once in a while in a fit of nostalgia…but it’s not my nature. Peace is my retreat. Joy is my core, and with joy comes passion and curiosity and noise and bright lights and energy.

So I prefer the traffic. The voices of strangers going by on the street. The shout of a kid out too late. Trucks speeding by in the night to make up for lost time while they break away from the dense urban thicket of the East Coast. Yes. But this is just an echo.

How long ago did I sit on the hot cement of Lankershim Boulevard, barely brave enough to pull my guitar from its case? How long ago did I stand on the shore of the Pacific for the first time, promising I would come back when the time was right?

How long ago was it that I threw open my 11th story windows at the Westin Copely Place Hotel in Boston? How long ago did I know I wanted to be submerged in civilization, that I loved being around so much life, so much vitality, a steady pulse running through avenues and alleys even in those last hours before dawn?

How long ago did I marvel at seeing Grand Central Terminal after arriving from a Tarrytown train that took me into the heart of modern western culture? How long ago was it that I walked out of that humbling nerve center-palace of transportation and felt FUCKING transformed?

I was 18 when I realized I would have to grow much stronger before Los Angeles would become my home. I was 14 when I breathed in Boston and said I’d live there sometime, if only for a short while. I was 12 when I knew that I’d end up in New York again and again.

New York is rooted in me already. It wasn’t until my move to Milford that I actually started to have faith in my path. It wasn’t until the summer of three years ago that I really began to understand that as the voids and unknowns got bigger and scarier, the rewards in experience and self-discovery become exponentially rewarding.

“Hang on, baby,” says Lady Fate. “You ain’t seen nothin.”

My more ludicrous decisions and frightening times have always favored me with extraordinary results:

  • I couldn’t hack LA at 18, but I drove 7000 miles and saw the country in two cross-sections running east to west and back again.
  • I ran to Missouri to get away from the town I grew up in, and at the end of those months in the Midwest I knew that the only way to escape Canandaigua was to outgrow it. I ended up returning and getting a job at the Canandaigua Wine Company.
  • In my off time I wrote until my firgertips perspired ink. By the blessing of Lady Fate, I was noticed and offered a job I wasn’t qualified for. In a matter of months I found myself at a desk, fixing typos and proofreading copy. In another few months, minus the editor-in-chief, I was the editorial department.
  • When my time at Milford Magazine drew to a close, Lady Fate extended her hand again when an old friend annouced he was looking for a roommate in Myrtle Beach. I took the offer impulsively, and it just so happened that the winter and spring that followed on that South Carolina coastline was an artist’s feast.

Let the lights blind you. Let the sound echo into you and vibrate through you. Flow with the waves of the ocean and dance with the fucking wind. Love, love, love as much as you possibly can. People, places, days, nights, memories, thoughts, experiences…love all of it.