This morning, as the dog and I walked after breakfast, the neighborhood streets were again quiet. Magnolia flowers ready to open. The earth still in orbit around our star.
Another day in this new country.
A few nights ago I rediscovered the band Crowded House. In 1986 I was seventeen, and when I first heard the song “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” I had to pause and just stand there and listen. Face tingling. The opening guitar, then Neil Finn’s singular voice. His lyrics.
As I sat the other night, at fifty, listening to that song after another day of dog-piling developments, I found myself thinking of how, at seventeen, after I first heard “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” I pulled a couple of bucks from my pig-bank, then went out and bought the vinyl 45, same day. I must’ve played that song a hundred-fifty, two hundred times. An introspective, goofy teenager, listening to greatness and knowing it even then, for a few moments letting the song carry me away, letting it bolster my heart, my faith in life.
We walked this morning amid the stillness, step after step past the houses and apartments with humans hunkered inside of them, and I looked around.
A lot will likely change, of course. Amid our fears and this time of absorbing and quieting down, the unknown will show itself. The new. I want to think that a society’s addiction to frenzy, and the strange habit of viewing one’s self as outside of nature, will at least partially dissolve in these rapids. It’s time that we change a few things, arrive at a new definition of “the bottom line.” We can’t see around the next bend, but we reach for each other and hang on, and try to stay patient and strong.
There’s a line in “Don’t Dream It’s Over” that I’ve always especially loved:
Now I’m walking again, to the beat of a drum, and I’m counting the steps
to the door of your heart.
Hearing it again the other night, I found myself with wet eyes. The heart accessed via piercing truth and beauty. The power of art. I think I might play the song once more after I finish writing this note, after I send this your way. For a few minutes I’ll just listen and let time fade. And then I’ll probably heed the dog’s yearning stare and slip on his harness and leash and we’ll head out into the neighborhood. We’ll keep giving others their ten feet of space, but we’ll still say hello, how you doing?
This morning, as a neighbor and I were each taking our walk, he paused and gazed across at me, looked me in the eye and said, “Keep the faith.”
And so I’ll pass along those words, and these others, to you.
Keep the faith. We’ll get there.