Monday, August 2, 2010

Wearing my Foghat, Dreaming of Clouds

I like the whirling of the dervishes

The air is thinner here.

And colder.

The car sputters, climbing slowly up the long, steep hill.

There's no fog in the valley, the valley is clear.

But it lingers in the mountains.

And the little car, underpowered, struggles in the climbing lane. Bigger cars whiz be. Trucks strain to pass, pushing 30 mph, faster than us.

"When we get into the fog," I say, "it'll be all right."

She nods. Uncertain. Afraid of the little car. And the big load. And the fog.

Still we climb.

Kate Bush seemed to arrive fully formed. She was discovered by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour (who'd produce her first album, the hauntingly beautiful The Kick Inside) when she was 16. Her first single "Wuthering Heights" was written in a single evening. And her style, vocal abilities, and sensibilities were nothing like any singer or songwriter who'd come before.

Bush would go on to rack up massive chart success and inspire a devoted following that worshipped her every move and obsessed over the Meaning of It All. She drew inspiration from novels, movies, and the fine arts.

She seemed like she was from another planet. But she'd brought an important message with her to Earth. All we had to do was listen. And understand.

The fog closes around the car, bringing with it an eerie near-silence. Broken only by the cars that pass, unseen but heard.

The car slows from 25 to 20.

I glance in the rear-view, looking at the backseat for ballast we can throw overboard.

Instead, we start singing songs about the sea. Songs to guide sailors home in the harshest storms.

And the car sputters again. The gas gauge seems to drop second by second.

I wonder what will stop us first -- running out of steam or running out of gas.

The car slows to 15.

And I look up at the mountain.

There's sunlight. And snow.

For a few seconds we break through the fog.

The car seems energized, speeding back up to 20.

On the side of the road, a pair of eyes emerges through the fog. A wolf, watching us slowly move forward. Wondering what we're doing in his house.

Water crystals. Suspended in air. That's all it is.

"There's a magic in the fog," she says.

A magic.

In the fog.

And the car speeds up to 25 again.

Then coughs, sputters, and catches itself.

"We're in the fog now," I say. "Deep in the fog."

"So it will be all right."

And we say nothing for a moment. Until the little car pulls us up to the summit. Far above the valley.

The bigger mountains seem to smile at us from on high.

She smiles at me from the passenger seat. "And it will be all right."

The little car, overloaded, overpacked, crammed full, starts the long, slow, slide downhill.

And we know that we, like the raindrops suspended in the air, have crossed an important dividing line. And we will flow out to the ocean.

And every mile of the way there, we'll bring our own magic. And we'll bring our own fog.


asiangrrl said...

Alex, for all your erudite learning of and passion for music, it's your wonderful, quirky, endearing stories about the different girls you knew that keep me coming back to your blog. I really could see a short story book (or a movie) based on your recounting of your experiences. They are simply delightful.

P.S. I know this makes me a bad person, but I simply cannot handle Kate Bush's voice.

ssspune said...

Oh, Alex! I've always adored "Wuthering Heights," but now I love it doubly, what with Kate's incredible dance vocabulary. She's got some bellydance moves with a little West Side Story, African and modern..even a lil' nod to speed skating. A gal after my heart. Thank you.

thingy said...

I just come around for the stories. : )

The music is good, but so not needed with your beautiful tales.

Holly A Hughes said...

I'm with Asiangirl on Kate Bush's voice -- it's like fingernails on a blackboard to me. In my experience, people are either fanatical about Kate Bush or they really hate her. I'm a hater.

But I love your stories....

Steven said...

I love Kate. She is a great song-writer and though her voice is unusual it is also flawless and evocative. That she is beautiful is just a bonus. One of my friends actually named his first child Kate, after Ms Bush. Now THAT is a big fan! Good thing they had a girl. ;-)

I buy everything of hers I can find. That will be evident when I list my "B" items on my blog (just did the A's so it might be a few days away).

Kate's "Never For Ever" is probably my favorite of her albums but they all have some great stuff. "The Dreaming" is intense but wonderful too. Strange stuff but well worth it!

You have really good taste in music (read: similar to mine) ;-)


Straight From The Harp said...

Great post!
We love Kate Bush too!
She´s fantastic!