by the Night Writer
One of my favorite albums when I was in college was Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender”. While I preferred my music fast and loud back then, I usually listened to this album on my headphones while laying on the couch with my eyes closed. One of the best cuts, for me, was the song “Your Bright Baby Blues”.
‘Cause I’ve been up and down this highway
Far as my eyes can see
No matter how fast I run
I can never seem to get away from me
No matter where I am
I can’t help feeling I’m just a day away
From where I want to be
Now I’m running home, baby
Like a river to the sea
Some 20 years later — and some 15 years ago — I came across the album on CD and bought it and brought it home. After dinner I dropped it in the stereo and stretched out on the couch and closed my eyes. That time, however, I could also hear from down the hall my wife’s gentle tones and the high-pitched talking and giggles of my daughters as my wife bathed them. It was a dizzying, almost out-of-body experience as I listened to the old tune and old words while the best part of my new life ebbed and flowed around me like the fresh bath water.
It’s so hard to come by
That feeling of peace
This friend of mine said
“Close your eyes, and try a few of these”
I thought I was flying like a bird
So far above my sorrow
But when I looked down
I was standing on my knees
Now I need someone to help me
Someone to help me please
Ah, the things we will desperately pursue when real peace is already close at hand and really not so hard to come by after all. And how hard it is to let go of the nominal comforts of the present to grasp the change and greater joy we know not of.
I thought of that long-ago magic bubble of a moment again this morning — and of those little girl voices — when “Your Bright Baby Blues” shuffled up on my Touch as I took the train to work. The last few days have been full of anticipation as the oldest of those once little girls is now due to deliver her first child at any time. We are all waiting in eager anticipation as the little one dawdles and takes his sweet time, apparently in no rush to leave his comfy quarters with all the amenities to which he’s become accustomed.
Baby if you can hear me
Turn down your radio
There’s just one thing
I want you to know
When you’ve been near me
I’ve felt the love stirring in my soul
Come, child, it’s time and there are songs to sing out here and yours is just beginning.