Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Moon, the Stars, and Gregory Alan Isakov...

I've been appreciating small things lately, that I used to take for granted.  When I drive to work every morning...I pay attention to the colors of nature, the cool morning air, and the charming houses I see on my journey there.   A cup of coffee, to me, is not only a delicious, comforting beverage...but paired with the right amount of sunlight, a pretty journal and a candle flickering in the background, it also becomes a beautiful piece of art when photographed.  I love how the small window above my front door seems to frame the night's stars perfectly and it ends up being an organic, mystical piece of art.  You see, these small joys have taken on another meaning to me as of late.  They have been there all along, but somehow now, have a life of their own.

Gregory Alan Isakov's songs have awakened my senses and opened me up to appreciating simple beauty.  Every time I hear his music, I'm taken somewhere else.  I'm taken away from the life I'm living right now.  I can't describe it in words, but it's something that no other music has ever done to me.

The Universe, she's wounded
She's got bruises on her feet
I sat down like I always did
and tried to calm her down
I sent her my warmth and my silence
and all she sends me back is rain...rain
{{The Universe}}

I have seen Gregory in concert four times.  Four of the greatest nights of my life.  First, in Napa Valley, California at the City Winery.  It was so incredibly mesmerizing that I don't know if that feeling will ever return to me..ever again.  I was in beautiful Napa Valley for starters....seeing Gregory Alan Isakov live!  Life couldn't get much sweeter than that.    Then, I was lucky enough to spend one magical night at the Mesa Art Center to see him live with the Symphony of the Southwest.  The orchestra arrangements of his familiar songs, paired with his deep, perfect vocals were absolutely enchanting.  The next two shows were earlier this week.  First, he played at the Orpheum Theatre in Flagstaff.  The drive there was a lovely stretch of desert landscapes and eventually faded into gorgeous cottonwood trees lining the interstate.  The weather dropped 25 degrees as we arrived in Flagstaff and an instant calm somehow came over me.  Gregory's music put a spell on me that night and I don't think I'm out of it yet.  The venue was a little different than his other shows...not quite as small and not full of the collective Gregory Alan Isakov lovers, but rather full of a bunch of 20-somethings hanging out at the bar.  If I hadn't been so entranced by the music, I might have gotten upset at the excessive need for those people attending the concert who clearly had no clue who they were listening to, to continue talking and getting up for "another beer."  And finally...Monday night in Tucson at the Rialto Theatre.  3rd row...a very intimate setting...and a night completely all about the music.  As Gregory sang each song, I could see him getting pulled into every melody and lost in every lyric.  When he's singing, it's like he removes himself from the stage, from the microphone and he's taken somewhere else.  He's gone and nothing feels more real to me and more intense than watching him perform.  Every last song he sings becomes woven into my bones.  I can't help but feel everything he sings and am instantly taken places that I don't want to return from.  The journey his music takes me on proves to me that the road I'm on in my life the wrong one.  When I sat there in the Rialto Theatre that night, I couldn't help but let him take me away.  He took me away from the life I face everyday and I felt so free.  He sang about space and the sea and dreams...and the beautiful melodies and impossible lyrics brought me to tears.

And I wish I could leave my bones and my skin
and float over the tired, tired sea
so that I could see you again
Maybe you would leave too
and we'd blindly pass each other
floating over the ocean blue
just to find the warm bed of our lover

I don't need to meditate...because with Gregory's music, I'm overcome with complete clarity.  It's all I need sometimes and there's nothing more beautiful in the Universe.

Now the moon sees everything
in this sanitarium
Can I get through, like the moon gets through
across the sea
{{San Francisco}}

That Long Last Time...

If you’ve ever wondered about the title of my blog, Long Last Time…this post will hopefully satisfy your curiosity.  I think of myself as a dreamer, not so much a realist.  So, my reasons behind the mysterious blog title might not make sense to some of you….but all you dreamers and free spirits out there, this is for you.  

Have you ever watched a movie or listened to a song and one moment, one verse, one part of the melody, one scene, or one anything in it made you feel happy, inspired, and maybe even a little hopeful?  Well, Long Last Time are all those things to me, and more.   It's like...when these two people are so incredibly and deeply in love with each other that even they are afraid to admit it to themselves, because the timing is never right.  The world gets in the way.  The journey of each of their lives don’t allow them to be together, whether it be family, location, jobs, or not wanting to hurt someone else.  It’s the universe telling them that they can’t be, or shouldn’t be, but the two of them unconsciously know that they will never love another person the same…ever.   Or…two people who just can’t make it work, because it’s just too complicated to stay together, but the love they have for each other is undeniable.  Even the love between a parent and a child.  That unconditional love that can’t be compared to any other love in the world.  And in all these love stories…there’s always goodbye.  There’s always that tragic, heart-wrenching moment when their eyes meet that Long Last Time and they know, just by looking at each other what words could never explain.  It’s that Long Last Time that is so full of unexplainable emotions that no one will ever be able to convey how it felt, as only their hearts will know the truth.  

Dreamers,…see I told you.  In reality, I don’t think many of us lead such a romantic life.  Haha.  That’s what our guilty escapes are for, right?  Movies, books, and music.  If I find a movie that has that “Long Last Time” moment…it quickly becomes a favorite, because I will probably only seen it a few of times in my lifetime.  Well, the last movie I watched, LaLa Land, was completely spectacular!   I will let you watch it to see for yourself…but the very definition (in my eyes) of “Long Last Time” was so present in that movie that it made me want to burst into tears first…then it had a surge of hope and inspiration in my soul!  It captured me so much, that I could have quit my job, flown to Europe, written a novel, sang to strangers, camped out under the stars….Yes, all the things I’m afraid to do…because for a split second…it made me fearless.

My main influence for my “Long Last Time” blog title came from this song by my beloved Patty Griffin…which, to me, comes as close to interpreting the feeling as anything possibly can.
Here are some of the lovely, enchanting lyrics…

Well, he jumps in the taxi… for the sky
He's off to slay some demon dragonfly
And he looked at me…that long last time
Turned away again and I waved goodbye
In an envelope, inside his coat, is a chain I wore, around my throat
Along with, a note I wrote
It said "I love you but, I don't………even know why"
But darling, I wish you well
On your way to the wishing well
Swinging off of those gates of hell
But I can tell, how hard you're trying
I just have this  secret hope
Sometimes all we do is cope
Somewhere on the steepest slope, there'll be an endless rope
And nobody crying.