125. Hungry Heart


Back to earth, briskly windblown by dark and damp north winds sprinkling the east coast. Oh Baltimore! I’m reminded of Bruce Springsteen’s song,

Got a wife and kids in Baltimore jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going

Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart

With  this kind of weather it’s plain to see why folks leave and don’t come back to Baltimore. I get it– more rain, more people, more traffic, more rules, just more of everything gets burdensome. Minimalists have the expression that “less is more”, and this must be what they are referring to. Everything is a trade off, I know, but when you move so fast by plane, there is nothing gradual about the transition, and the starkness of difference jumps out in your face. But now it’s back to business in Baltimore, find the car, pay for parking and get home as quickly as possible. Very prosaic, Bruce. Hardly worth writing a song about it…

Found my CRV in the parking lot

Paid my sixty one bucks and took off like a shot

Took 195 to the Patuxent River bend

Merged on 70 and drove into the wind

I’m really sorry about the butchery, Boss.

At Phoenix lift off, it was a lovely sight to see river canyons with copper green patina water snaking through them from 20,000 feet. The twisting brown flesh of the mountains rose up to 7 and 8,000 feet above sea level as we left Arizona and headed over the snow covered plains of Colorado, with its precise crop squares and circles etched into the billiard table expanses that crash into mountains at every horizon point. (There’s a run-on sentence for run-on geography, but that’s how it is.)

My brain was still sort of moving at jet speed and my body was a bit confused. It was dinner time and I had not had lunch yet, being two hours behind gastrointestinal time. No matter. Find a radio station that will last for a while– there we go. It’s NPR and some guy talking about air pollution in China. How refreshing. And then an interview with an old British guitar genius, the sort of music history that I enjoy. Okay, seat belt, granola bar, go, go, go. Perhaps by driving northwest for two hours I will turn time back around or at least settle the disconnect between brain and body. In any event I am not locked into a window seat in claustrophobialand. I can breathe or sing or wiggle. Not exactly the ShawShank Redemption guy in a convertible but it felt freeing.

Being in the space you are in is more than just getting your body from point A to point B. There is the mental weigh in and security check that takes a bit longer. Airport personnel should advise folks to take their shoes off as they arrive at their destinations to help them absorb the difference of it. It helps to calm oneself when all you want to do is be home and unpacked. Is it just me, or is the last hour of a trip the slowest and hardest to endure? Not sure why, but I’ve had this sort of experience over and over in my life. I feel like Popeye when he says, “I’ve had alls I can stand and I can’t stands no more!” He gulps down a can of spinach and makes bad things happen. I believe this is the original reference for the phrase “open a can of whoop ass” popularized by professional wrestlers. In any event, that’s how it feels to be close but not home yet. It’s not so much anxiety as it is impatient frustration, like being hungry. Well, there you go, Bruce, the hungry heart thing again.

Hmmmm, nothing notable happened beyond the fog and rain and the slow deterioration of my driver’s side windshield wiper. How annoying that this thin layer of rubber does not last longer when you only use it on rainy days. And then only for a few hours if that. I had to watch my speed. It’s 75 mph in Arizona, though everyone drives 82 and cops are scarcer than one armed Democrats. Here I was in Maryland flying along at similar speeds but the context was dramatically different. I had to scold my impatient self to back off. Also the flapping wiper blade was a divine limit, I think. A ticket would not only be expensive but would also delay me further, so pump your brakes, Fool.

Do you see what is already happening? I am already owning issues that I did not own while visiting the desert and the grandbaby. I’m getting jacked up as I attempt to be in two places at once through mental telepathy and future forecasting. I’m into tomorrow, I’m opening the mail, returning phone calls, finishing checklists of things that must be done this month….I am undoing what I spent a week doing, which was undoing what I am doing now.  Oh, Man. It’s like Springsteen’s narrator moving back to Baltimore. I need to focus on unfocusing. That’s it. Sink back into the peaceful mystical intimate primal place I left a mere seven hours ago.

Stand still, stand tall like a saguaro cactus. Blend in. Settle. Listen to the soft breeze on the warm air. Worry and tension–Evaporate. Yessss, the heart is open not hungry. I want for nothing. Life is not so hard as we make it. Keep it simple and close to your heart. Van Morrison did it this way,

Da, da, da, da, da,
Jackie wilson said
It was “reet-petite”
Kinda love you got
Knock me off my feet
Let it all hang out
Oh, let it all hang out.
And you know
I’m so wired-up
Don’t need no coffee in my cup
Let it all hang out
Let it all hang out.
Watch this:
Ding-a-ling-a-ling
Ding-a-ling-a-ling-ding
Ding-a-ling-a-ling
Ding-a-ling-a-ling-ding
Do-da-do-da
I’m in heaven, i’m in heaven
I’m in heaven, when you smile
When you smile, when you smile
When you smile.

Good enough.

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