Monday, January 29, 2007

Anywhere I lay my head...

Coming home is a strange thing. In my life I have a bit more comings and goings than most. I used to consider myself a visitor everywhere, just passing through, but deciding in advance that you dont belong is an invitation for pain. Now, I try to dig my toes into the ground wherever I go, to try to make that place feel like a home for the moment, though my roots may be shallow and the wind need not be strong to pull me along to the next thing. I have been this way for years, since long before I was touring with a band. The thing I’ve always discovered about coming from one home to the next is that your mind and your heart always get there a week or so before your body. The routine maintenance to tune up for tour is awaiting me in Oakland but I’ve already begun turning wrenches in my head. I’ve been away from the microphone too long now.

Today I wandered out into the cold for coffee and breakfast. Somehow I found myself on the train going up through Queens, speeding on elevated tracks above the neighborhoods, peering through lonely apartment windows, at chimneys covered in graffiti, at the dirty rows of storefronts squeezed together beneath the countless homes of strangers. I stood facing the world moving outside the window until, all filled up with Shea Stadium, it stopped and the doors slid open. I walked away from it, across a bridge over the railroad yard, over frozen train cars glittering with sun.

On the other side of the bridge was Flushing Meadows. Snow laid in untrampled clumps on the lawn and hundreds of Canadian geese grazed on the uncovered grass. It was so still, so calm. The soothing absence of sound, coupled with the freezing temperature and the lack of people brought that holy feeling to me. I walked towards the Unisphere until it was on top of me. I looked upward in momentary awe as kids on skateboards rolled through the empty fountain below.

Last night I walked though the fresh snow at midnight. Made first tracks through the blanketed sidewalks. The flakes fell delicately, covering the blemishes, the cuts and scrapes, of a ragged city. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a city so beautiful, so polished and dazzling under its own streetlights. Dressed and made up for only me.