Today’s Music

So many songs call me today. My spirits are high, but we’re bracing ourselves for a storm. The remnants of typhoon Songda is heading our way up in the Pacific NW, so thoughts drift that way as we prepare for high winds, power outages, and possible flooding. We appear to be on the fringe as we’re inland, but we’ve gone through storms elsewhere, so we prepare.

As always, though, I’m looking forward and back, riding the wave of the day. Some John Cougar Mellencamp creeps through my mind, as does Boston, Pit Bull and Farrell. But then comes a memory from 1971.

‘Riders on the Storm’ was the last song The Doors recorded before Jim Morrison’s death. I vividly remember the first time I heard it in Pittsburgh. I was fourteen, on the verge of fifteen, on the verge of moving out of my mother’s house to join my father. The day was overcast, with a slight drizzle, and this song played. It seemed perfect for my mood and the moment. After hearing it, I sat in a small shed I’d made out of found construction plywood and huddled as the rain finally opened up to full throttle.

1971 seemed like a continuation of harsh years and fast change for me. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin had died the year before, and now Jim Morrison was dead. Listening to rock, drawing, and reading were my escapes, and one leg of that tripod was breaking down. It may sound depressing. I don’t consider it depressing but enriching, and the beginning of my growth as a more introspective person. Of course, I also became more withdrawn then, and socially awkward, trends I still continue. It probably didn’t help that I was reading books like ‘Catch 22’, ‘Catcher in the Rye’, ‘War and Peace’, ‘Cancer Ward’, and ‘Crime and Punishment’ in that period.

Stop and listen to the storm as we brace. Stay safe, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.


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