Posts Tagged ‘childhood’
Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
Today I had brunch on the Upper West Side with my new love Ian Kroll, where I stuffed myself with pancakes and scrambled eggs and almost offensively delicious bacon. We walked back to his apartment and then I decided instead of taking the subway home, and since I had nothing else to do with my Sunday except laundry, that I’d just walk home. I ended up walking the full 120 blocks, past Morningside Park, past my old apartment, along Central Park West, through Columbus Circle, and eventually down 7th Avenue to stop in at the Chelsea Hotel, and then on to Greenwich Village. It was my favorite kind of day – rainy and green – when everything around you suddenly seems to take on so much meaning.
Sometimes on days like this I feel weirdly conscious of what it will feel like to look back on this part of my life and see it as dated. Maybe it’s because the lighting looks like an old photograph. It’s like I’m suddenly able to see all the things about myself the way we do when we remember our younger selves: for our sweet ingenuousness, our ability to find joy in things and be surprised, the way our hearts lit up for people and were crossed with fiery thrill at things that scared or shocked us, and most of all, those moments when as young people we were for a moment able to see straight to the pearly center of something and feel that stab of awareness to our own context in the world. On days like this I feel like I’m walking backwards away from myself. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be able to see myself as a grownup, since I’m so easily able to look back on where I am at any given moment.
Photo by Giasco Bertoli | More here
Aphex Twin – Jynweythek Ylow
I stumbled upon this photo the other day at work and was immediately struck by how much it called up images from my childhood. (A lot of things have been doing this to me lately; humor me a bit if you’ll be so kind until I get it out of my system.) I remember so vividly being young and outside early in the morning or in the evening: the feeling of wet grass and soggy ground, the pink color of the sky against dark oak trees, beads of dew in the swings and the metallic smell your hands had after gripping their chains, realizing too late that there was also water pooled at the bottom of the slide… but ultimately and most of all how self-conscious I was, and the way that most of the time, no matter how many people there were near me in playgrounds and in soccer fields and other outdoor places one finds oneself as a child, I always felt alone – though not lonely – and more conscious of the plants and air and wood and water that were around me than of any other person. It was a feeling of total solitude but also exposure, like I’d just locked eyes with something large and intangible, and also at certain moments the impression that my senses had been sharpened to the presence of something else, as if I were holding my ear to a giant conch shell.
It wasn’t until I started reading Rilke’s selected prose, Where Silence Reigns, and specifically the second essay “Worpswede,” (or so it is titled in my book – I haven’t been able to find it under that name or any other elsewhere) that I came across something that perfectly described this feeling of being young and so aware.
“Landscape is definite, it is devoid of chance, and every falling leaf fulfils, as it falls, one of the greatest laws of the universe. It is this adherence to law, which never hesitates and fulfils itself at every moment calmly and peacefully, that makes nature such an experience for young people. It is just this that they are seeking, and when, in their perplexity, they desire a master, they are not thinking of someone who will continually interfere with their development and disturb, with a rough hand, the mysterious hours in which the crystallization of their souls take place; they want an example. They want to see a life, beside them, over them, about them, a life that lives without concerning itself with them. The great figures of history live in this manner, but they are not visible, and one must close one’s eyes in order to see them. But young people do not willingly close their eyes, especially when they are painters: they turn to Nature and, in seeking it, they seek themselves.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke
Furr – Blitzen Trapper
A P.S., if you’re still here: “Blitzen Trapper” is basically an upbeat, indie version of The Handsome Family’s gothic-country masterpiece of woodsy unease, “My Sister’s Tiny Hands,” wolf noises and alternating-strong-weak beats included.
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
This picture reminds me of my grandparents’ house in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and what I want my bedside table/life to look like when I am old. My grandfather used to play harmonica on the porch at night when I was little and visited them there, the same porch where my parents got married, and we would sit and listen to the cicadas in summertime, in between squares of orange light from the windows and screen door, and watch moths flutter around the porchlights. Our house was the only thing glowing in miles and miles of dark trees, and I loved feeling so warm and solitary.
The next day when I woke up I’d have breakfast and then take the dog and go play in the creek in my underwear. Those were the days.