…so I’m standing under hot water in a shower in a hotel room in Prague holding a basket of blackberries which I am eating one by one for the sheer joy of it. After a morning walk through hot sunlit streets in which Jem G. and I wandered about a small museum of Alphonse Mucha and discussed, among other things, the Irish trad. air “She Moved Through the Faire” and Natural Beauty’s Inevitable Response to the Church Expressed Through Architecture in Old Prague. We are surrounded by old stone, enormous portals and filigree of every description – stone, glass, metals, woods.
At brunch this morning Mick B. sat down and was quickly served perfectly cooked eggs he had unsuccessfully requested the previous day. Yesterday’s request had been parried with a Dada-esque response: “It’s Monday,” and the waitress had gone about her business. But Tuesday, today, feels different. A waiter brings the plate of freshly cooked eggs directly to him, the moment he sits down, as if the kitchen had been waiting all morning for this precise event. Today weightless possibility mixes in with the ordinary urban atmosphere of grilling sausage, cigarette smoke and horse dung in the central square of Old Prague. It’s not raining, we’re surrounded by tourists and, across the Atlantic Ocean my poor young niece is dead, another victim of inoperable cancer. Dead at 26, without children, without a partner but by all accounts she went peacefully, surrounded by friends and immediate family. It’s far away from where I am now but it’s directly in front of me, too. I felt her going that morning in the spectacular one hundred and eighty degree rainbow viewed from the top step just before I turned to enter an Airbus 319 in Tegel Airport, bound for Geneva. I felt her slipping away the evening of that same day during the victorious G3 concert for Guitars en Scene, in Genevoise, France, as the audience fiercely and joyously sang along to Joe’s songs, often overpowering the band. And I felt her gone that night after the show as we stood in the field under the night sky, halfway between hospitality and the bus, as a monstrous and silent lightning storm filled the entire Western sky, illuminating magnificent cloudscapes over the Swiss Alps in still and humid air.
Hours later we are three buses stopped in late morning at a fueling station along the road to Prague. Crew members smoke cigarettes near the diesel pumps, downing cold bottled Heinekens. The storms of the previous evening have moved South leaving behind damp roads and fragrant air.
Time has no meaning. One never knows what’s going to happen. I toss these comfortable platitudes around because my brain fervently needs to understand and make order of what passes for reality. Eventually I’ll give up trying for meaning. It won’t be in the glorious art of Eastern Europe. I won’t find it in the endless horizon viewed from the window seat of a jet beginning it’s sunset descent into Kiev. It won’t be in finding and purchasing the perfect gift for my now-teenaged daughter (whose thirteenth birthday I missed because we were performing in Amsterdam). And then, all of a sudden, that meaning will be everywhere, in all things, in the most mundane of things: a clean towel for the shower after the show, slipping on an audio cable as I backpedal from the lip of the stage during the solo section of Ice Nine, or simply feeling comfortable in my skin – that uber groove that makes the solos swing. An almost sacred conceit: “meaning” everywhere, in all things…as if driving to work, doing laundry, washing dishes and watering plants can be suffused with that same light.
Time is elastic. The blackberries are delicious.