Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sorry, my Muse was Bruised

Man, I’ve been sick. Sick up and fed of being sick. It’s always an amazing feeling to me, as it was this morning, to wake up feeling better than I did when I went to bed, to gradually feel whatever this crud is oh so slowly leaving my body. As the old song goes, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. . .” Amen, sister.
I’m a wimp when it comes to being sick. I don’t wanna, I ain’t gonna; just leave me alone with my bed and my remote control. This, of course, eventually, after a while, makes me feel kinda guilty about all of the things I’m supposed to be doing – one of the sure indications that I’m getting better. I live with one of those people who never seem to do what I do – declare I’m sick, I’m going to bed, and then drop off the face of the earth for a few days. She just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny. I’m sure that it has a lot to do with her knowing that it won’t get done unless she does it, but I think it goes deeper than that. I do not know how she does it, but in the final analysis I don’t care. I yam what I yam – “just a spud boy who found his real tomato” (30 points for emailing me with the proper reference for that modified lyric).
I went to “the church of Springsteen” a couple of Sundays ago. I found myself on the bow of a houseboat, moored in a cove at Lake Mead, my coughing carcass jammed low into a canvas chair with his latest, “Devils and Dust” mostly gently playing in my headphones. It was one of those moments where the confluence of mood, fatigue, the desert fauna, a cool wind, and artistry brought me to tears more than once. Until the one song with the seemingly out-of place lyrics jerked my reverie back to wherever it is I usually live. One has to appreciate these moments when they occur, they are as fleeting as spring flowers in Death Valley. It’s also hard to describe to someone else, isn’t it? I’ve never been a true fan of ‘The Boss”, but these soft, straining songs reveal feelings beyond polish, beyond production, true experience. Honesty is the best policy. “Matomoros Banks” is my song of the year.

Even though we’ve been doing this for umpteen years now, and I always knew it, I used Google Earth to look around Lake Mead before we left, and was able to see how actually stinkin’ close our wilderness adventure is to Las Vegas. To explain, there is a significant mountain between eastern Las Vegas/Henderson and Lake Mead – getting to Echo Bay requires a 45 minute drive from Boulder City, around this mountain. It’s probably only about 20 miles, as the crow flies, from Echo Bay to the Strip. They are worlds apart, however, which only adds to the awe of it all. The bad news is that, at night, there is a pronounced glow to the West. The good news is that you can still see the Milky Way and shooting stars until you go to sleep. I woke up one night, looked out the window, and saw Mars and the little dipper. It’s so easy to forget that this stuff is always there – a reminder between REM states that to stop and wonder is still a wonderful thing. Whatever your opinion of Las Vegas as a technological triumph over the desert may be, the juxtaposition of it against this wilderness is never lost upon me. All this, of course, from my comfy chair down the hall from a working bathroom and shower, on a Man-made lake. Did I say I’m a wimp when it comes to camping, too? Yeah, probably.