Monday, June 4, 2012

Strange, Dusty Roads


...old letters, lots of ‘em...amazing how much got put on paper back in the days before e-mail...and Facebook...and twitter...and texting...and blogs...lots of warmth and color in them, from unexpected people...reminders of years that might not have been quite as lonely as I tend to remember...pictures, scraps, strange mementos...ticket stubs, from a frightening number of Dead shows, but also the Van Gogh Face to Face exhibit, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2/15/01, 76ers vs. Orlando Magic, 1/14/00, Miles Davis at the Academy of Music (strangely double-billed with Japanese pop-fusion group Hiroshima), 6/20/90, Neil Young & Crazy Horse at the Verona Arena (built by the Roman Empire), 1987, David Bowie, Serious Moonlight Tour, 7/20/84, the Who at JFK Stadium (opening acts: Santana and the Clash), 9/25/82...senior pictures of pretty girls from high school, now mothers to other pretty girls, now in high school, whose senior pictures they’ve been putting up on Facebook...a snapshot of that long haired counselor at the pre-school day camp, wearing the hat I gave him...one I took of my dad, looking younger than I ever remember him, with windblown hair, in a parking lot....what looks like a massive amount of stuff when spread out, but, despite its emotional weight, could probably be fit quite easily in a shoebox...

 ...a surprising number of comic books left over from when, broke and stuck at my parents’ house after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, I sold the bulk of my collection....turns out I mostly held on to the really weird ones...titles like Legion of Charlies, Slow Death, Kamandi: Last Boy on Earth, Killraven: Warrior of the Worlds, Zap, Mr. Natural, and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers...piles of magazines, and some crumbling newspapers, including one from December 9, 1980...I read the news today, oh boy...

 ...enough dust and mildew to cause an allergic reaction I'm feeling a day later...a cardboard sign with an impressively creepy decal of an eye, magic-markered letters reading Jay Winston private eye. If you need him nock....some lovely ceramic paraphernalia...a program for the 1984 Great Valley High School Production of West Side Story, signed by my fellow cast members...a college paper on the theme of death in seven plays by Eugene O’Neill, strange handwritten science fiction stories, wretched attempts at political songwriting, report cards with enough D's and F's to make anyone wonder how I made it from grade to grade, much less to college and grad. school....piles of notebooks...

 ...including the trail journals from the A.T. I'd thought were lost...all four...marking the time from March 31 to September 1st, 1992....inside the cover of the first, before starting the trail, I taped a panel from a Calvin and Hobbes strip, with Calvin in his spaceship, exclaiming FREE TO ROME THE HEAVENS IN MAN’S NOBLE QUEST TO INVESTIGATE THE WEIRDNESS OF THE UNIVERSE!...and then, in the opening pages, wrote out a bunch of poems, creating a kind of digest to accompany from Georgia to Maine...Shakespeare, Blake, Basho, Snyder, cummings, Frost, Yeats, Kerouac, Thoreau, and, of course, filling the first page, none other than Walt Whitman...Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road...

 ...all of this surprisingly cool stuff making me think...having dreaded so much the very thought of actually going through or even looking at it...that there may be more positive continuity than I thought....last year, to mark my 45th birthday, at Kripalu, during the yoga teacher training, I was asked to make an affirmation that everybody’d repeat back to me...never much one for that affirmations thing, I struggled a bit, then said stay on the path....our teacher, Devarshi, thought that a bit negative, suggested I am on the path, which I went with....and right now, looking back over so many strange twists and turns, it seems I’ve been on it quite a while...

5 comments:

the walking man said...

Odd coincidence Jay..I was in Philadelphia in 1974, and I saw Bowie there that year. Facing the stage I was on the left side of balcony front row.

lesbarkeit said...

"...more positive continuity that I thought-2 and "stay on the path" - great, and enough! to be an example! I´m trying to teach my daughter to begin and continue such things as horseriding, what I began at 45 - how much more luck if you do this up from 5! But she is lazy. And me - will always be a "not good" rider, which is not the same as "bad", but I do not give up, my horse is healthy and likes me and I will go on, even if I will never be better than now. Continuity! Stay on the path! Never give up! Thanks.
And beautiful the thought to look on old comics and letters!!!

Joanne said...

I still prefer books over an e-reader and still do a photo album after each of my trips. Thought it was an age thing until I met someone in her 30's who felt the same way about books.

kim said...

That last paragraph gave me chills. Especially that last sentence.

DaisyDeadhead said...

OMG I see me some vintage R Crumb.

Married to a comic book collector, who would salivate over that photo, LOL.