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Harder Now That it’s Over

April 19, 2007

I’m listening to Ryan Adams’ Gold on our new Bose sound dock. It makes me think of driving home from Squam during the summer of ‘05, following my parents through back roads of New Hampshire. The green lawns, the rolling hills, the fields that stretch for acres, bare except for the lone tree in the middle of the land, a stone wall running on either side of it marking the land, marking the time. I always wanted a hill like that near me, one I could walk through in a contemplative mood exploring the land as I sorted my thoughts. One I could bring a boy friend to on a warm spring afternoon for a picnic. I’ve driven by so many, all the same. They roll on for acres, are often empty, and usually have the one old tree marking the middle of the land.

When I first saw Shawshank Redemption I wanted to point at the screen and say, “Yes, that’s it, that’s just the scene I want at the lone tree in the rolling field!” It’s so romantic, isn’t it? Not just in the typical definition of the word, but the English literature definition too. It’s a place to take lonely, tormented thoughts, not just to take a lover for a passion filled afternoon, or evening. A place I’d feel safe when I’m scared, a landmark to allow your thoughts to fill with memories, good and bad.

Like Ryan Adams. He brings my thoughts to that afternoon driving home, which was just a day, another ending to our Squam week. But then because Dad was with us, probably driving the other car, it makes me think of him. He loved Ryan Adams.

I remember being in the car with him and Matt in New York, talking about Ryan Adams, his newest album, how Dad would like to see him in concert but he hardly ever tours and its always a mystery when he does.

And then I’m there, in the car, looking for parking near the St. James theatre, city all around. Except I see a rolling hill to my right, with a large tree in the center and I go to it and sit by it. Alone, except I know Dad is there. He’s in the songs coming through the Bose that I now notice I placed right next to a picture of him, he’s at the tree. Thinking, this isn’t fucking romantic- I’m dead and had to leave you all. Except, it is. We’re left with your memory, your spirit following us and we get to imagine all the connections you’re making for us. Parking spots multiple days in the row on our block, birds singing at just the right time, Herons flying over city landscapes with no water in sight.

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