I spent a lot of time yesterday in the car, close to seven hours on round trip travel of a sad and somber nature. I smoked cigarettes for twenty-three years and when I gave them up (nineteen years ago this September) I wasn't sure I'd be able to drive a car anymore, but what do you know, that proved to be a false fear.
Actually, the cigarette smoking wasn't the first habit I ever had when driving a car-listening to music via the radio, be it back in the days when AM radio was the dominant in-car entertainment delivery system (long before gabfests took over the airwaves), or when 8-tracks and dinosaurs ruled the earth.
I've listened to the music of Bob Dylan all my life, to include times when I didn't know the music I was hearing was his. I ordered a small parcel of new releases last week on line which means they show up in dribs and drabs. I'm waiting for the James McMurtry disc of which my brother Adam so eloquently writes, but the first one to arrive was the new Dylan work, Shadows in the Night, album 2,096 of his career, or so it seems to me.
I've yet to take it out of the car CD player since getting it, because it is just that good. If you love Dylan, it's brilliant and if you don't, it's more so. How he has continued to reinvent himself for all these years, I know not but wish I could do the same. Back when I as a young and semi-virile Young Turk through some unhappy circumstances I discovered that no matter how fast I ran, and I was fast and strong at the time, a man cannot outrun his own past.
What I've learned again from someone who helped me first define music and its importance in my life, is how when you exchange the race and the chase for the simple embrace of everything that you are, how you can change the river of time into which each of us steps on a daily basis. A silver lining for a day rimmed with tears.