We’re experiencing unseasonably strange cold, wet weather in Ashland, southern Oregon, this week. It feels like late November, an odd juxtaposition against the full green trees, lush grasses and arrays of colorful blooms. It feels like it might snow, your mind whispers to itself, setting you into a groove of wondering what this rain is doing to the seasonal snowpack. Perchance this colder, wetter weather will diminish the wildfire season. Maybe, this year, we won’t have drought and water rationing.
But on a Sunday morning, it also settles coziness. What better things are there for cold summer weather but leisurely breakfasts inside, reading books by a fire while sipping coffee and tea, and, for us, going to an afternoon movie?
All this kicks the mental streams into retro-mood. From that morass of signals emerges an album from nineteen seventy-six.
Married less than a year and separated from my wife, nineteen years old, and experiencing my first overseas assignment in the Philippines, this album helped me keep my focus and balance. “Year of the Cat” wasn’t Al Stewart’s first album, but the song by the same name was one of his highest charting songs. Its piano-heavy folk-rock sound with mystical lyrics spoke to me as I walked around Clark Air Base and the surroundings Filipino cities and towns.
It’s a good song for a cold, quiet morning. Here’s “Year of the Cat.”