autumn leaves



now playing: the innocence mission, “tomorrow on the runway”


last night barry gave his notice to stone road.

i knew that something was going on, taking into consideration the conversations that had gone down since friday – and barry had made it clear to darryl that he was unhappy, but i didn’t think he was this ready to take a walk.

the odd thing is how indifferent to it i feel.

when we reorganized the band, it’s hard to overstate what a shot in the arm barry was. he sang well, and he had a great range, and it really added to our vocal sound…now in the time since, what with shawn being exiled from the band, our vocal sound has suffered considerably, and with barry taking a walk, i’m not sure that doing songs with vocal harmonies is even within our grasp. donnie sings, and he can sing harmony if pressed, but it’s not something that excites him..or so it would seem – outwardly, at least.

so where does that leave us? we decided initially last night that we’ll attempt to find another bass player, because there were two clubs that wanted to book 2005 dates with us, and they wanted to book them yesterday. the consensus was that we’d go ahead and take the work, and if things didn’t pan out with another bass player, we’d have the option to cancel down the line….and there are always bands looking for work that’d be willing to take the cancelled dates for us.

so that’s where things stand at the moment, regarding the band.

i had known this was going to happen, though…i’m not sure how i knew, but i had even said to people in conversation that i didn’t think the band would last past the end of the year. barry had actually said last night when he came in that he’d hoped that someone else would pull the plug before he had to quit, but that didn’t happen so it fell upon him to bail.

so the question comes down to – will this actually die down to ashes, or do we decide to keep it going?

i’m torn, personally.

i’m not so certain that this will ever really regain its former stature, personally. i think that in order to get the harmonies back to where they used to be, we’d have to hire two players with strong vocals. i did mention to darryl that i felt that we took a serious hit when we lost quin, and he knows how i feel about that. quin was our ace in the hole…the thing that gave us an edge, that made us just a little better than the countless other area bands that had the traditional “beatles lineup” – two guitars, bass and drums – and when we went back to that, i was pretty dejected about it. i mean, even the great “guitar bands” from back in the day – skynyrd, the allman brothers, all these bands that were revered for their guitar playing – had great, a-list keyboard men in the band.

at this point in my life, i just don’t want to be involved with anything mediocre.

nik’s band is a bright spot, and there are a few other things unexplored on the horizon that i haven’t really pushed – including some personal projects that i’d like to work on as time is freed up for them…especially now that the studio is falling together as well as it has. blake’s record is being mixed, with new parts being added here and there, but it sounds great thus far. i’d like to work on more records as the opportunity presents itself, and i’d like to play in a really tight, close-knit band that has its shit together.

whether any of this happens or not, i can’t say. we’ll see what opportunities arise.

i walked outside earlier today to go across the street to the supermarket to root something out for lunch that wasn’t a sandwich with the word “salad” in it – which is what i’d have settled for if i’d hit the machines in the lunchroom (seriously – every day here is an endless parade of egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, ham salad, turkey salad, ad infinitum…i’m waiting for them to introduce deer salad, squirrel salad, or quail salad as hunting season approaches)…

it was a typical fall day, for the most part – grey, but comfortable. brisk. i took a couple of deep breaths as i walked across the parking lot and remembered the drive back to work recently when i had gotten lost on the backroads and ended up taking an extended drive on a perfect day that was exactly what the doctor ordered. i thought about just continuing to walk down the road a bit, for no particular reason but to be walking – but today just doesn’t feel as though it would have the same cobweb-clearing effect as the other day did. not that it wasn’t somewhat invigorating to be outside, but my head feels a bit too cluttered today for any time spent in such a manner to have maximum effect.

tomorrow morning, dylan goes in for his surgery at 7:10am. i asked him last night, while we were driving home, if he was having cold feet…typical of dylan, he replied, “no, not really…but my face is a little chilly right now.” he came home with (get a load of this shit…) a copy of gone with the wind. i asked him, “dude…you’re reading that?”

he said, “well, yeah…i gotta do something while i’m sick.”

he must be planning on being sick for a while….either that, or his inner drama queen is gearing up for a very busy week.

he did read the fan man by kotzwinkle recently, though, and got a real kick out of it. he usually doesn’t comprehend books once he’s read them – or at least he hasn’t historically. but he was actually able to talk about scenes from the book, and recalled what he’d read…which was pretty much unprecedented, i thought. i was impressed. i think that maybe i’m finally witnessing the transformation of dylan the begrudging reader to dylan the curious.

maybe. just maybe.

don’t bet any money on this yet. old habits die hard.

is there a sentimentality epidemic brewing?

i wonder, because everywhere i turn lately, i’m confronted with it…lazy breezes of nostalgia blowing in from here and there, wistful remembrances of the past cropping up sporadically. it’s definitely permeating the blogosphere…i’ve read some things of late that just make my heart hurt. this entry at spencer’s journal is a great example:

“Where is she now? I think about her now and then. I can’t remember how she smells but I can remember her face clearly. I can’t remember the way she walked or moved through a room but I can remember the way she danced. She looked like a marionette when she danced alone. And when she danced with me it was like she came alive. The female version of Pinocchio. I can remember what she felt like. The feel of her hands over my eyes when she used to find me in dark bar rooms. Pressing up against my back. I replay her voice like a scratchy, overplayed record in the dusty attic of my brain. I recall the jacket she used to wear. The way it looked on her. When I was near her no other woman mattered. And for a long time after she left my life it was the same. No other woman mattered.”

i mean, that’s just an achingly beautiful sentiment. without putting everyone whos’ written anything remotely wistful on the spot, i’ll just say that this isn’t the only example of this i’ve come across lately. my friend mitch, for instance, surprised me at home on sunday and stopped by – he’d managed, after over 20 years, to track down a couple of his college buddies from ohio, and was justifiably excited about having googled them down to a phone number with a voice on the other end. rachel had an erstwhile visitor who linked to her relatively new blog (still has that “new blog smell”) that’s just laced with heartache and loss.

what is it about this time of year?

for a long time, i thought it was just me.

i still have memories of things like driving down the hill at hay creek on route 10 in october early on a saturday morning, with chris and jake and dylan in the van, and being mesmerized by the swirl of leaves both in the air and on the ground on our way to dylan’s football game. i remember walking along the ridge above the christmas tree farm in mohnton with the kids’ mom before we were even married, feeling the new briskness in the air and enjoying feeling the chill on my cheeks, relieved that i was finished suffering the staggering humidity of that year’s summer. walking from our old house up the street to the school where jayda and dylan both went, to meet them and walk them home afterward. i remember going to a campground with jayda and dylan and chris and jake, raking huge piles of leaves so that they could jump into them and start all over again….hayrides at an orchard…

it’s been a perpetual time of elevated emotional sensitivity and heightened nostalgia, for me. it’s become inescapable, especially as i get older and i see my children rise from infant to toddler to kindergartener, then through to preteen and to their present states – both of my children are tall enough now to look me in the eye standing in front of me. i look in the mirror at the greying hair that has elected to remain on my head, into the tired eyes that have life left in them on some days, on others i stand there and brush my teeth and i’m just not sure if anyone’s in there at all.

but then i go outside in the early afternoon to walk across the street for lunch, and the air is brisk…brisk enough to warrant the sweater that i just pulled out this morning for the first time, and walk across to redner’s with my hands in my pockets…i can hear the kids on the playground at schuylkill valley school in the distance – i can almost see them across the field, but not quite.

i almost want to just keep walking…..

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