Scythe of time, sheaf of memory
Consciousness is the adhesive that binds time and space. As Sri Chinmoy, the spiritual teacher of master guitarist John McLaughlin, put it, mortal man is “the red thread between nothingness and eternity.” I’ve always liked that line, both as a nice piece of literary expression and as a succinct description of a literal state of awareness. But, metaphorical and metaphysical concerns aside, the essential ingredient here is time, and the only measure of time is change.
Perhaps the next time some mendicant on the street cries out for spare change I’ll pause, press the palms of my hands together and pronounce: “Change is infinite, inexorable and inescapable, my friend. To ask if there is spare change is as futile as asking if there is enough time. Dwell upon that while you marvel at these 37 cents.”
However, I digress. The real object of this little excursion into the bush of words is to track down a few of those events that have transpired within the empire of the senses and then slid quickly away into the vast wilderness of time. “How soon we forget” is one of the most poignant truisms that life has to offer. And yet, to those of us dedicated to living in the infinite now, the past can become an ephemeral distraction if it is not properly assessed and assigned a place in the museum of memory.
But when a friend and comrade dies suddenly, any such comforting and convoluted meanderings of reason are brought to an immediate halt. Time, change and the infinitely beautiful randomness of the physical universe have resulted in one thing: the death of your friend. All the free-ranging affection and value which that person carried for you is now dropped on your doorstep to be assimilated and stored away.
And while Culture Vulture seldom tires of assimilating and storing things away, there are some things, such as the barking, rising laughter or the rough, joyfully gurgling voice of my friend Gavin Jones, that one hates to put away. There are far too few ecstatically conscious and loving human beings on the face of the Earth, and when one of them steps off, it’s a challenge to wave at the sky and yell, “All right, man! That was a fuckin’ blast! Love you man!” And let it go at that. But it’s what I’m doing right now.
So long Jones. It was a fucking blast! I won’t forget it!
Other stuff that mattered
1. The Merry-Standish Comedy show at the Women’s Club. Two true comic geniuses at work, and boy did I need a laugh. Plus, Roland Allen was on fire!
2. Dave Gleason’s Wasted Days at Duffy’s Tavern. If you love honky-tonk music, don’t ever miss this band.
3. Helping create the artwork for the upcoming Danny Cohen CD, We’re All Gunna Die. If you can’t laugh at death it’s not worth doing.
4. Listening to Frank Zappa’s Burnt Weeny Sandwich.