Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I must have short-circuited the neurotic in me because I have been feeling pretty good lately. It really began with getting the call on Sunday that the synonymUS jam was cancelled. I had spent the afternoon cleaning and watching movies with Stephanie and suddenly, my day opened up. I realized in my bones that it was summertime, and I decided to get out. I drank a couple of gourds of yerba maté and, properly stimulated, I jumped on my bike and rode out to Willow Lake, near Corona Park. Now, normally when I ride, I push myself, raging to “get in shape” (for what?) or “beat my time” (what “time”?). Instead, this time, I just slowed down and enjoyed the day.

And the day was beautiful, right at my favorite time, blessed with the sinking light of the sun and a cool breeze. It reminded me of Sunday afternoons in Tucson, playing outside, riding my bike around the neighborhood before dinner. Sunday evening at the Williams house meant dad grilling steaks (or, later on, chicken breasts for my mom) and me swimming in the pool, imagining that there were monsters down in the drain at the bottom of the deep end. In the present, riding my bike through Briarwood, Queens, past the houses with sprinklers in the front yard and the “hissing of summer lawns”, I was suddenly overcome, not with nostalgia, but with a deep and humbling gratitude. The world was quiet, and safe, and actually quite simple. For a moment, I was complete.

I rode this wave of good feeling down to the lake (more a pond, really). Hundreds of families encircled the water, with their coolers and their grills and their Frisbees and their kites. Oblivious children wove in and out of pedestrian traffic on the paths, and boats floated out on the water. The smell of charcoal and meat grilling filled my nostrils; rock music and hip-hop and soca music twisted together between parties with competing sound systems to form complex poly-rhythms in the air (the only thing that would have made it more complete for me would have been the polka rhythms and ass-quake bass of norteno music). I loved them all. All these people and their families and their friends and their lovers and their children and their quarrels and their trash and their beer and their cigarettes and their pork or beef or chicken grilling. All of them suffused in this holy light of a sunset gently putting the day to bed – they were beautiful.

I rode home, took a walk with Steph around the neighborhood (still too early in the day for the fireflies to be out, but the gloss of loving memory puts them in anyway), went home, watched an episode of Deadwood. Lovely.

Got together with Ray last night to play music and made some interesting and occasionally pretty sounds, even though my guitar chops are no where near what I’d like. It was nice to play without expectations or even hope of a “product.” The body and mind and heart enjoy play for its own sake.

That’s all, I’m just blessed. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I feel ya on the realization of summer thing. I had my own version of that post where I was drinking Corona on my roof and taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of Franklin Avenue. Here's to summer and simple pleasures!.....mcs