This blog is about a song, and this is the song:[audio: https://hipharp.com/cv/audio/ap2/10_caughtinspell_ap2.mp3]
There were nights when I would walk through a deserted Pt. Reyes Station, with Black Mountain looming. I was 17 or 18, in love with a kid from town and I’d prowl the streets, hoping he’d show up on his bicycle.
Later, when I’d finally accepted the futility of that relationship (only I never really did), I’d still prowl in the dark.
Sometimes into the cowfields where I loved the smell of the grass and faint manure, and sometimes down the streets, especially the street behind the Palace Market, the empty road that butted up to the hills.
There were things I loved that came out of loneliness. One was the red-winged blackbirds in the fields heading to Nicasio. Those were the loneliness of daylight.
And the other was the moon full behind Black Mountain, the loneliness of night, black against the midnight sky.
There’s a love for place that embodies loneliness, because it’s a love you can only have alone. And there’s a shape of hill, or curve of road and a rustle of wind that loosens the tiniest muscles in your back.
I was dazzled by the bay, by the infinite colors it could shift through in a day.
But I loved the hills. I loved their human shape.
When I left, I knew I was leaving what I loved to learn the skill of trapping my own passion. I saw the irony. But I was going to be a composer, and I needed to learn to capture on paper what my mind made wild.
And when I left, I knew I was leaving something I loved.
What I didn’t know was how much it would haunt me. How I would resent the inconsequential rolling, verdent New England hills — because they weren’t the expansive, dry hills of Pt. Reyes.
I started writing this song in my late teens. I carried it with me, trying to finish it and never able to until about 15 years ago, when I admitted to myself that I was still standing on that road in Pt. Reyes Station. Still waiting in the dark.
This is one of my favorite pieces of yours. And I love how, in this blog post, you perfectly capture what wandering and loneliness and darkness feel like, and how when we can hold those moments, something is unlocked for us. Spellbinding, all of it.
Thanks so much, Trista. I’m trying to capture as much of my memories as I can and get them into words before I get back to Pt. Reyes this week. I worry that new images could crowd out the old and I want to get the old in place before the new arrive.
I think, because I was dragged quickly away from that place I loved by the reality of what I needed to to, the memories of it are still very real and present for me – nothing has dissipated them, since they belong to that place. I’ve noticed this a lot in my life, since I moved nearly every year as a kid – that it allowed me to place, hold and revisit specific memories just by walking into a different neighborhood of my memory.
I love that you loved this post.
This definitely sounds like a significant, pivotal time. How brave to leave when you felt such ties to also stay.
Because of what you powerfully wrote above, I don’t think those old memories can ever be replaced or canceled by the new. It’s like a song and it’s infinite versions / improvisations. It starts one way, and morphs into something else according to where and how you are on the path. The original is not lost, it just changes.
Again, from what you wrote, it’s easy to see that the music and memories that come out of this year’s trip will, again, not be replacing, but literally adding to your life repertoire. Can’t wait to see the result.