good morning ~
(click the link / fabulous sunset to listen)
good morning ~
today's track is much more of a banger than usual!
hope you're hanging in there, ten minutes at a time.
want to put it out into the universe that I am super available for work right now - - scoring, writing, recording, lessons, design, open to just about anything and my calendar is pretty wide open. hit me up!
also ~ i've been so deeply enjoying doing the "personal tone zones" and i'm very grateful to the many of you who have already grabbed one. really kept me sane in the last month of last year! but I'm gonna have to raise the price soon. so if you wanted to grab one, please do so this week ~
My friend told me something last month that I can't get over. I said something about christmas lights being so nice and he said something like, well yeah - we put up lights and get together with people because it's the darkest time of the year, we need the warmth. It had truly never occurred to me, but now I see what he was saying as plainly true - a lot of people in the northern hemisphere fill their homes with candles, or burning oil, or fresh-cut trees filled with twinkling bulbs simply in order to cope with shortened days, hours lost of daylight, less and less sun. Which is great, sure, but what about afterwards, right when the holidays are over? When it's still dark all the time and someone's got to sweep all the broken plastic wine glasses and the cigarette butts out from the front of the bar?
There has been a lot of darkness lately. This is my fifteenth or sixteenth winter season in the northeast and, despite having grown up in California, I truly don't mind the cold, or bundling up, or even tromping through snow (driving I am scared of). But I have never gotten used to the velvety cape of night that drapes over this part of the world at this time of year. And now I'm living a few hundred miles north of where I used to live, an even more harrowing level of seasonal change. It's straight-up dark at 4:30 some days and sitting in front of our plant's sunlight lamp only gets me so far. For weeks the farmer's market will only have potatoes and onions to offer, no flowers, no tomatoes. And mysteriously, intriguingly, the ever-present swarms of crows that flutter overhead everyday precisely at dusk continue their crawl across the sky, like they're each bringing a little spear of night in their beak, they gather on the river.
Another obvious thing about darkness I realized recently: when I used to live in New York City, even when the days were short, everywhere I went was filled with artificial light. Subway cars are painfully, fluorescently lit and there are street lamps at regular intervals on nearly every block of the city. There are cars driving by at all times and bars and bodegas are open nearly until the sun rises again, their lights spilling out onto the sidewalk. Even with the curtains drawn, my old bedroom never got fully dark, nor was it ever quiet - subways screeched and rattled by at regular intervals, I just stopped hearing them, I slept in perpetual dawn.
Compare this to the profound night of upstate New York, where roads are often completely dark except for your fogged-up headlights. Bars and restaurants are almost exclusively entirely closed by 9pm at the latest which still, almost two years later, seems like total lunacy to me. Taking a walk after 10pm and the only light on some blocks of the city at all comes from the televisions by the windows in people's apartments, family feud blue glow.
And this is all simply the literal, lightless fact of life these days. A spiritual darkness curdles the air lately, too - there's a needly whine of anxiety in every conversation I've had of late, a light dash of nihilism to everyone's mood. So much death, both in the high-numbered abstract and the specific instance. I have been to a funeral, I have said goodbye to a sweet old dog I liked a lot, and, most horrifically, when I heard that an acquaintance had unexpectedly passed just before the new year I found all these fake, auto-generated obituaries that seemed to be designed to cash in on the fact that people were trying to make sense of a tragic loss. And then there are cancelled parties and cancelled gigs and an insurmountable mountain of infections, so many people I know sick. A lot of uncertainty, a lot of precarity, a lot of fear - even my favorite coffee shop, the place where I got my little treats that got me through last winter, is closed for the week, an exposure.
But amazingly, appropriately, right in the middle of airing this all out a wash of brilliant orange light catches my eye, peeping out from under the cheesecloth curtains in our living room - a brilliant, terrifyingly colorful sunset, a kind I haven't seen in what feels like forever. I yell "oh my god" out loud to nobody and, not for the first time, I throw on a few layers and jog into the street, hopping a fence by the edge of the water to get a better view. I have the image of the creator shaking out the rug of the cosmos, this is the golden, glittering dust.
And yesterday we went and saw a movie in the middle of a weekday, one of those weird northeast winter days where the sun is out in full blast but it's still below freezing. Seeing a movie in the middle of the day remains one of life's absolute greatest joys, by the way, just an absolute serene delight with an edge of playing hooky to it, a little bit of mischief. It's something I haven't done in years, I realize now - I dropped the habit entirely the moment I got a regular-ass day job. A big part of the delicious pleasure of the midday movie is that you squirrel yourself away in the dark, you luxuriate in it, you let the sounds and images wash over you and the three other people in the theater. And then? Once the movie has ended? You walk out, blinking, into the light of the late afternoon, where everything is brighter and more richly textured than before you walked in. Everything has that matinee sheen, colors are deep and rippling, every sound distinct and observable.
And that's what I keep telling myself. The darkness will end, and when it does, it will all be brilliant. We'll walk out. We'll be squinting in the slant of the sun.
But what about you? Are you playing hooky? Are you shaking out the rug? Are you sitting among your house plants every once in a while?