23 August 2010

Breathe out ... so I can breathe you in

I had a near-religious experience yesterday on my drive back from Chicago. I'd been on the road for 10 hours or so, across the flat plains of Indiana, the rolling hills of northern Kentucky, and finally, thankfully, into the mountains. I'd been running Pandora on my phone the whole trip, letting the digital gods take the music where they wanted. Once the hills really got going, though, I lost the signal, and it was time to switch to iPod mode.

I worked my way through a few albums, promising myself that I'd stay away from Foo for a day. It went well for a couple of artists, but then I got restless -- and went ahead and threw on Dave Grohl & Co. I was on the straight section of I-40, Knoxville just past and the Smokies in the distance, and the Shuffle kicked off with the live version of "Everlong" from Skin & Bones. Now, in general, I'm not much for live versions of songs, but there are a few I really like -- and that applies to pretty much this entire album.

So there I am, rolling I-40 in my big orange truck, Grohl playing the audience like he plays a drum kit, building to a crescendo ... and in the middle of the song, he pauses. Stops cold. It's the last song of his set list, he's been playing these Los Angeles crowds for three straight nights, his acoustic prowess has never been better, and ... nothing. The song stops, and the crowd, which has been singing along the whole time, begins to cheer. The band holds. The crowd noise grows. Holds. Noise. Beat after beat, nothing from the stage. For what seems like an eternity, surely longer than it should be, "Everlong" hangs in the air ...

And then, BAM, "... and I wonder ..." And at that moment, just that moment, I burst out of the trees to the vast expanse of Douglas Lake and the French Broad River, the headwaters of which are 100 miles to the south near my new home. And I wondered: if everything could ever feel this real forever, if everything could ever be this good again?

We had a fantastic weekend in Chicago, spending time with family and collecting the last of our belongings from Evanston. It was quite a whirlwind, especially for me, but it was fantastic to see Kate play with her cousins and get silly with her grandparents, aunts, uncle and friends. That's the toughest part of this move, that we (and especially Kate) are now distant from family, but as I entered Pigeon Gorge and rolled down the window to breathe in the smell of the Cherokee National Forest, I knew I was heading ... home.

1 comment:

sirenbicycles said...

Good post.