Anticipation. Morning, for once, is welcome. Barely sleeping for the fourth day in a row, I am ready to go even before coffee. The tingling in my brain, and the knowledge that this this will be an excellent day. I race through the morning. There are no barriers to hold me back. I pull others in my wake, sweep them up in my mood. Like a virus, I am infectious. The day will only go up from here. I pick up three friends and we drive. We stop at the first place that seems to invite us.
Imagine a day when you can see everything clearly. Not just as a beautiful day, but a day when you are completely relaxed and there is nothing but the moment you are in; now.
The sky is light blue, and there are spots of white clouds that dot here and there. The breeze is light as well. The grass beneath my feet is vivid green. Lush in a summer where the spring rain was abundant. Heightened awareness anticipates the tactile sense of each object. I am almost overwhelmed.
This is a cemetery, the graves spanning centuries. The markers range from the large marble of the recently deceased to the thin dark slate carved with winged cherub faces from the 1700’s. These all stand out in my vision as well. Everything is in focus. Everything seems a perfect form. These are not simply things named ‘stone’ and ‘grass’ and ‘sky’; they are the perfect representations of each. Archetypes.
The world opens up. Embraced and held like a child, and a butterfly passes. Holding out a finger as a perch, it lights for a second and flies on. What is not perfect today?
Songs have fingers. Distortion and reverb reach into my brain and activate different neurons, causing me to see music and feel light. Everything seems to glow and pixilate. Then sharpen. It is more than being one with the universe. I simply cease to be an individual. ‘I’ evaporate. The music lifts me utterly, and I am complete. Euphoria has become my essence. Three hours pass this way.
Is this something no one else feels? It is natural to me. Doesn’t everyone see the world this way? Pure and complete. The hill swells with its own breath. I am overwhelmed.
“One burns, one’s sky…”
As high as some thing goes, it descends to an equivalent depth. The day darkens, even before twilight. The sweeping joy that was slowly gives way to an all-encompassing anger. It is thorough and complete. The friends with me sense the change before they see it.
When ships are at sea, and the wind dies to a stop, it is an augury of the storm to follow. The change is sudden, and sailors know they may have only moments to scramble and prepare.
I return to my body. Awareness floods back, leaving me dizzy and distracted, forgetting where I am and why. Everything that came before is lost as well. A sense memory that may or may not be triggered later, never the same way. This is not a pattern I can replicate. This is a part of my mind that controls its own destiny, with the rest of my body along for the ride. The black mood rips me back out of my body, rooting me into the ground. There is no sky.
”I’m two headed
One free, one sticky…”
As sharp as the brightness, the darkness retains this focus. Sharp contours stand out to threaten, contrasts cause fires of resistance from my mind. I hate. I am hate. ‘Why?’ does not enter my mind, just as it did not earlier. ‘Because’ would be the answer in any case. This is how the world is. Everyone must feel the same.
“But is it freedom can burn…”
Alcohol can dull the anger. Blunt it. More than a crutch, I use it to beat back the anger, to separate from the enclosing feelings. Slowly, with each drink, I become more myself again. I inhabit my body alone, empty.
Carolyn’s Fingers by the Cocteau Twins always sends tingles through my brain. The song should be played on the loudest possible volume setting. I apologize for the cheesy video.
When I first heard Devil’s Roof by Throwing Muses I felt I understood it on a deep emotional level. Like it was talking directly to me in a language I recognized as my own, and had never heard before. That was an experience I had never had with music before. Even if my meaning isn’t exactly what Kristin Hersh had in mind when she wrote it, I have my meaning. Music, meaning in general, is contextual. We all bring our own meaning to the things we love, not necessarily what the object is trying to communicate to us. The opening guitar grabs and holds me in place, whatever I’m doing. Being able to see them perform it at Stable Sound in Portsmouth was worth more than I could ever hope to repay.
ps; there will be happier stories! these are just the first two that came to mind.