Thursday, August 04, 2016


Watching me watching the world around me. This is how I experienced Yosemite. This was after missing out on the grandeur of all that nature for all these years. This national park was my Grateful Dead album. People who look at my music collection have always been able to find the hole, that missing piece. For the longest time, that was the Grateful Dead album. "Wow," they would say, "You've got a lot of music here." Plenty of admiration. "But you don't have any Grateful Dead?" 
I never did. As much as I respected and admired the work of Jerry and Mickey and the rest, I never got around to buying that record. Or tape. Or CD. Or mp3. This is probably as a result of having spent a good deal of time in my youth surrounded by Deadheads who felt that I should share their commitment to the Dead. I appreciated what I heard, on cassettes and vinyl on endless recordings of live versions of all those songs. Dark Star. Truckin'. Ripple. On and on. Sugar Magnolia. Friend of the Devil. The sounds and words that made up all those tunes became part of my world. Vicariously. Somehow, I felt as if I were to buy into that whole scene that I would be surrendering to this thing that I didn't fully understand. I was stubborn. I didn't want to surrender to something so big, so vast. It felt like peer pressure, and so I avoided it. 
Until the day that I went ahead and bought that greatest hits CD. And now I can hear those songs and enjoy them for what they are. It was a silly principle onto which I held for no particular reason other than showing just how stubborn I could be. That would be pretty. Stubborn, that is.
Which is kind of how I felt when I got out of the car and set foot in Yosemite Valley. There I was, surrounded by all that rock and trees and waterfalls, and that's when I felt the eyes of my friends, and my wife, and my son on me. I knew they were waiting for me to light up with the joy that all that natural wonderment could give me. I looked up at those massive slabs of granite and felt awe. And gratitude for the patience extended by all those around me in the time it took for me to find my way here. Among the trees and rocks and waterfalls. In my head, I heard a song. 
You, who choose to lead, must follow
But if you fall you fall alone.
If you should stand then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home.
It was beautiful. And I was happy to be there. 


Krs10 said...

Serves you right... since your favorite Disneyland ride is looking at your son's face when he arrives...!

Thanks for crossing the great waters, er, great mountains!

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