"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, June 29, 2006
cap Function: noun Etymology: Middle English cappe, from Old English cÃ¦ppe, from Late Latin cappa head covering, cloak 1 a : a head covering especially with a visor and no brim b : a distinctive head covering emblematic of a position or office 2 : a natural cover or top: as a : an overlying rock layer that is usually hard to penetrate 3 a : something that serves as a cover or protection 4 : What the Captain wears
(Two days ago)
I've been back from my wife's family reunion for days now, and this illness or drug induced malaise just won't leave me. The sun has been shining up untilearlierr today, it's hot as blazes outside, but to me the bright June days have been as gray as old asphalt.
But today, today the rain and clouds match my mood. It's just as gray outside as it is inside. It's still hot, and now it's muggy because of the rain. The semi trucks swish by my window in an endless parade of thrum thrum thrum SWISH or eeeeeYOW SWISH. The occasional human boombox cruises by with their muffled whump whump whump. In between, the regular cars, not big enough to really hear until they get pretty close, but big enough to make their own SWISH sound as they pass eight feet from my bedroom.
It's still raining, and it isn't stopping anytime soon. This is one of those rains that settle in like a bad headache, refusing to go away until it's good and ready. And it isn't ready, not by a long shot. I have some errands to run, then a meeting to attend. I grab my new Greek fisherman's cap and head out.
It's as good a time as any to talk about the Hat. Yes, I meant to capitalize that. When I was an entertainer, way back in the late 70's and early 80's, the Hat was part of my stage persona. I used the stage name "Captain Cliff" and had a big black beard, and always wore the hat.
And I mean always. I only took it off for three things. Showering, sleeping, and sometimes I would leave it on for the third thing.
For the first time in twenty five years, I put on the hat. And it felt good.
Pretty soon, I realize that I have changed the music on my car CD player to something that I wouldn't have listened to that morning. And I notice that things around me were brighter, more intense, than they have been in weeks.
And I am feeling good too. Energetic. Upbeat. Handsome.
Like it's 25 years ago.
I tilt the Hat just slightly, to get a bit more attitude out of it. I check the mirror. There.
The Captain is paying a visit, at least a little one. I take the Hat off. Gray again. Put it back on. Colors.
The Hat is a trigger, summoning at least a portion of my manic mood.
Dangerous, but I wear it anyway as I do my own SWISH through the rain. At least I won't fall asleep.
The good side is that it does make me feel better. It keeps the rain off my recently developing bald spot. And it just might have a bit of cockiness, which is never a bad thing.
Of course, there is a down side too. Along with the Captain, the Hat summons other ghosts. Old ghosts. Whatever happened to's and where are they now's, and what might have been's. Most poignant of all to me, the ghost of chestnut hair across a pillow in the moonlight, and a heart that never healed.
Music louder. Drown that out.
Watch my speed. I'll want to go too fast.
Set my cruise control.
I hate it when my mind wanders to that place. It's best left alone.
whump whump whump
I wear the Hat all evening. It's become a sort of statement to me, a declaration. Maybe even a totem.
"I am still here. I can still wear the Hat. The Hat still fits."
Does it still fit? Yeah. My body is breaking down, but inside I am the same person who enjoyed moonlit walks on the beach and making an audience sit totally stunned silent for endless seconds after a song finished. I am the same person who enjoyed throwing himself absolutely into something or someone. That confidence and spontaneity still live here. They were just tucked far below for many years.
The Captain still lives here.
I'll take the hat back off when I get home. But until then, I have at least a hat full of a happier (and infinitely wilder) time.
A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen. Edward de Bono