I’ll let Ugly Bobby tell you a story about the passing of summertime in middle age:
And in these early days of August, the light is changing. We’re experiencing the last throes of summer. The vegetation has fully bloomed. From here, it’s all downhill. You think of dark nights and those who are no longer with us. Who we used to tell our stories to, who used to listen to us.
There are only so many summers and so many falls and then you reach the end. Usually in some ignominious way you couldn’t foresee. With your body failing or the big bang of an accident. But before expiration occurs, and if it’s not the only thing you think about after fifty, it’s always present in the back of your mind, you keep on living, looking to savor more exquisite moments of life.
And that’s what this weekend has been. One of those unforeseen perfect epochs that you wish could go on forever. But don’t. Some of these people you’ll never see again. But their memories will live on. “For my wedding, I will dress in black And never again will I look back”
John and I lived through our divorces. When he counseled me through mine, his was unforeseen. He didn’t reel as much as me, but the disconnection takes a toll. When you can finally stand up straight you look for someone to fit the pocket, but your glove feels strange, it’s hard to find a ball that you can snap into that well-oiled appendage. If you’re lucky, you eventually do. John did.
An old friend fixed him up with Cristie. It was an instant romance. I think it’s going to last. Because when you’re older, it’s more about the person than your dreams. Your dreams rarely become realities. John stood up in Sonoma last night in a black coat from Afghanistan and a white shirt from India. You could see the teenage Cristie in her gown, the glint in her eyes had not died.
And while the ceremony is taking place, all I can hear in my brain is Don Henley’s “For My Wedding”. He didn’t write it. But he made it his own on his 2000 album “Inside Job”, released in the same year Napster gained critical mass and rendered all the new material by classic artists irrelevant. No one’s interested in the work of legends, everybody’s hunkering down and trying to survive, trying to find a bit of happiness in their lives.
And what truly makes you happy is a song. Now playing in your ears via Steve Jobs’ magical device. We take our music everywhere, it consoles us. “So what makes us any different from all the others Who have tried and failed before us” Plenty. We’re baby boomers. We dealt with the world like it and we would survive intact no matter how much abuse we inflicted.
But just like the planet is suffering, we’ve suffered too. We’ve done too many drugs, spent too much money. We thought the good times would go on forever. We didn’t truly believe the Mark Zuckerbergs could inherit the world. But they have. And we’ve been pushed aside, we’re no longer the caretakers of the world. If we’re lucky, we can be caretakers of ourselves.
I think John and Cristie are going to make it. Because they don’t deny the past, it’s embedded in their memories. They’re living in the moment, seeing that fall always comes, and at a point that will seem too soon, you might make it to winter, but you won’t make it until spring.
“To want what we have. To take what we’re given with grace. For these things I pray. On my wedding day. On my wedding day.”