Man, we’re a whole world away from my last post, aren’t we?
I’ve been trying hard to come up with words for this, as I suddenly work my regular job full time from my little spare room, surrounded by photos and souvenirs of 20+ years spent Coyote-ing across North America. Sometimes, those wonderful memories are hard to look at these days.
They do make for some pretty cool office mates, though.
I’ve lived my whole life looking forward, sometimes back, but never at the present. This is awkward right now.
The present is daunting. The future is, at best, uncertain.
So, that leaves the past.
My last post focused on things I found myself able to do, focused on accomplishments and good things. I am aware that that can come off as bragging. That’s so very far from my intention. I’m not better than anybody else, and I don’t wanna compare notes on who has it worse. My intention is, was, and will always be to remember the good times, and be grateful and mindful of the fact that good times can come unexpectedly from the dark.
But oh, believe me, I’ve seen my share of the dark.
I used to sit on my bed, which was propped off the floor on milk crates to try to stay away from mice, obsessively watching DVDs of my faves. I don’t know how many times I watched the Fleetwood Mac documentary, Destiny Rules, or Lindsey Buckingham’s Soundstage, or Don Henley’s Inside Job Live, on my old tube TV. That TV was free, maybe left behind by previous renters, or maybe my roommate found it somewhere. He was great at that. It sat on a black dresser that we found on the street, free to a good home, and carried down our block and up the stairs into my room in a dilapidated rooming house that we temporarily shared with a threatening, dangerous man who suffered from heavy addiction. I later lost even that precarious version of home when the landlord sold the house and I was unable to afford rent anywhere else. On my bad days, back then, I didn’t know if I’d make it out alive. On my worst days, I didn’t know if I wanted to.
But I would sit there on my bed, obsessively watching those DVDs on repeat, even falling asleep with them playing on a loop so I could wake back up to my dream life, telling myself, one day. One day this will be over. One day I’ll see that show. One day I’ll see them play that song, in that city. One day I’ll meet Lindsey and get him to sing “Turn It On” live. One day I’ll meet Don and tell him “My Thanksgiving” changed my life.
When there was no reason to have hope, I forced myself to have it. I had no reason to think any of that could ever happen. For starters, Don is notoriously hard to meet, and Lindsey hadn’t done a solo tour in 20 years at that time. The fact that it was a hell of a long way to a meet and greet with either of them from an illegal rooming house with bars on the kitchen window and cyclical mouse and roach problems was another thing altogether. And to get there, one would presumably need an income.
Those things all happened.
That darkness was in a different universe than the darkness we all face right now.
And I’m not always good at following what I’m about to say. Because I’ve had several days lately that I haven’t been able to get out of bed, for fear of job loss, fear of losing my home again, fear of illness for myself and others. For missing far-flung friends and family. For grieving a world that will likely never look quite the same in a host of ways. For grieving my world that relies almost entirely on being able to travel and gather in large numbers, both personally and professionally. Hell, I was listening to music while working today and kept crying at the amazing memories it brought up, because I just miss those days so much right now.
But I’m gonna go ahead and say this anyway, because I’m trying.
I have to have hope when there’s no reason to.
I try to look back and be grateful for all I have done. I try to look at right now and be grateful for all I still have, and my God, I still have so, so much. I wish I could follow the “one day at a time” advice of experts, but it’s honestly never been a comfort to me. I’ve been trying not to look ahead, because I start to think of all the things that might not happen.
But I notice on my better days, I’m falling back on the person I used to be. I’ve always tried to look all the way ahead, all the way through to the impossible other side of whatever was happening.
And somehow, I just never cared about how that impossible other side would come, or even whether it would or not. I just assumed and pushed on like it was going to.
So, that’s what I’m trying to do now. All I know how to do is to look ahead and believe somehow, good things will happen. I’m just gonna dream of better days and impossible accomplishments because, if nothing else, that’s easier on the mind than questioning it all.
I’m going to try to continue to write about past Coyote adventures, because I enjoy it. And if and when I do, it will be with this in mind: all of those things existed in a light that came out of darkness, a future that had every reason not to happen. Hard times can end, and give way to better things. Not just for me, but for anybody.
The future is, at best, uncertain. But it’s also uncertain at its worst, too.
Anything can happen, so I’m gonna hope for new adventures. For all of us.
“When the darkness comes you’ve got to do with what you’ve got
I’m doing what I can…”
-Lindsey Buckingham, “Doing What I Can”