June 29, 1980
I’m always down and out this time of year. Like a bad penny that always roles into the same gutter grate. For 28 years, each June things fall to pieces, and so this year it is not unexpected, no matter how unwelcome.
It’s the end of a cycle that always comes with a struggle to start over – and almost always it comes with a sense of heart ache and a sense of dramatic change.
This is different from the more hopeful sense of change I always feel in November, as autumn brings seeds that bloom briefly in spring, and then become something uncontrollable and dark when summer comes.
Last year this time, I was begging Garrick for a job with the band. But it is more than a money issue. My life seems to run down at this point each year as I run out of energy and find myself in an emotional rut I must claw my way out of.
I’ve always accepted it in the past, always assumed that this is the way things are and I must grin and bear it. But I’ve always resented the change, longing after calmer seas I see in other people’s lives.
Now I sit on the edge of this river and ponder my next move, a log caught in a log jam in this still-water eddy – the water of this life making me heavy and threatening to sink me. I feel the stream of faster water threatening to tug me out into the center again, and I am confused as to which I want, to lay low and safe and sink, or to get rushed off to something unpredictable, some unexpected future that might be worse.
My life has always been a series of sandcastles, built and knocked down to be rebuilt, nothing so permanent that I can rely on them for anything like security – even when I lock myself in a room and try to keep the world out as I have for most of the last decade.
The last two years have been so filled with change, I’m nearly drowned in the wash of it, and so that I blink and everything is different.
The only dependable thing is this cycle, this predictable moment when the promise of autumn finally comes undone, and I must build new sand castles out of the remains of the old with not even the security of old foundations – whether it be the promise of the hippie revolution Hank once promised, or the life as a husband and father that vanished when Louise did, or the old house from which I ran away so many times, I forgot why I needed to leave.
Some years like this year I feel like a man armed only with a paint brush facing crumbling cracked walls, hoping that a new coat of paint will keep the pieces together long enough for me to make my next move.
Not all is bad. I have a girlfriend who I love. But even that relationship is coming undone as it starts with the threat of her going off to some school somewhere, leaving me to fend for myself again.
I keep hearing the old Joni Mitchell song in my head: “I wish there was a river I could skate away on…”