Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Be Good Tanyas

That tobacco-stained bear tooth was setting like a ship over the ruffled Western Sierra.

Waribu and I drank whisky to stay awake for the last winds of that bumpy drive.

Up and up we went, away from the parched throat of the Owen’s Valley, and into the cold ache of 11,000 feet.

The White Mountains.

We wound past the caramel-colored, corkscrewing wrinkles of the bristlecone pines, who range in age from sapling to the 5,800 year old Methuselah tree.

Just a few hours earlier, we had been huddled in that bright world of dust and fire, the Joshua Tree Desert, watching the Be Good Tanyas pick their magic.

They looked flushed, and over-hot from the sun, and drank margaritas out of quart-sized cups. They sang like little warblers, just passing the time away while sitting on the eggs.

Sometimes the world seems too big. I keep on coming across people who I want to spend my entire life with. There are too many choices now that we no longer stay in the worn pockets of our small villages.

Corina and I went to see them play in New York City last fall. We showed up late to the show, and had to huddle outside the curtains just to listen.

Now the Kate Wolf Memorial Festival in Northern California. A canvas of yellowed grass stretched and broken by the gnarled, massive hands of the black and valley oaks.

The Be Good Tanyas played just before sunset. If I could give the entire planet the feeling those women gave me, while they picked that subtle, seductive magic, like a hot, southern pie, I would.

Music festivals always make me wish that I was in love.

But for now it seems that I’ll just keep on meeting people that could make me happy for the rest of my life if I had been welcomed into a smaller world.

And when I say I want to spend the rest of my life with them, it’s not that I’m imagining making love on a screened-in, wrap-around porch on a humid, Indian summer night, surrounded by fireflies.

No, that would be too easy.

What I imagine is those moments. Those precious moments when we become nothing more than human things.

Rushing late in the morning and watching her hop and struggle across the bedroom with her favorite pair of socks.

Surprising her with homemade chicken potpies and having them turn out like little cylinders of concrete foundation with string beans poking through, and watching her take a bite and giggle ‘til she snorts, try as she may, unable to pretend I did a good job.

Waking late on the weekend and hearing her voice trailing through the curved sunlight, yapping on the phone to all of her friends like my mom always would on Sunday mornings.

And of course, my hand pressed wide against the kicking globe housing our soon to be born baby.

The oaks hung heavy in robes of gold and green, with watery trickles of old man’s beard.

Those sweet, sweet women warbled those honey-suckled songs, and love felt far away, sitting with its feet up in some fire-warmed cabin in Canada. Far away, but still, safe and cozy.

And just knowing its out there staying warm somewhere is enough, and life never tasted so crispy-sweet, as it baked just right inside the golden crust of that late evening sun.

June, 2007
Black Oak Ranch, Northern California

1 comment:

  1. Holy Shit Link. You're an unbelievable writer. Thanks for the last hour of my life in the presence of your thoughts and adventures. I can only hope to return the favor some day. -Bastian