Tangled Glory

27 Aug

Commuting sucks.

Commuting is evil.

It wastes gas, and time, and torches the environment.

If the traffic’s bad (and it generally is along my route), commuting can grate your soul like a hunk of 5-year-old Canadian cheddar.

But over the years, folks have made helpful suggestions. Get books on tape! Turn the radio up loud and sing along! Turn the radio off and meditate! Make phone calls to loved ones (my favorite).

In fact, while I generally hate commuting with all my being, I have enjoyed some transcendent moments on the road. I remember once, many springtimes ago, I made my usual weekly call back home, to California. I spoke with Mom. I was in a mood – a grateful one. I thanked her for everything she had done for me, including giving birth (yeah, it got weird). I don’t know exactly why I was in such an effusive mood. I just was. And I said all the stuff we *should* say to our loved ones but, in some cases, never get the chance.

It was the last time I ever spoke to her.

Less than one week later, sitting at my desk at work, I received a phone call from my sister Angela. Our mom died, she said. They’re taking her out of the house now.

I fell silent and managed to say, Okay. Thanks Angie.

I’m sure it sounds like I must be making this up. The storyline is too neat and tidy. But that’s exactly how it happened. And were I not commuting that day, I might not have made that phone call. And if I hadn’t made that phone call, I might not have been able to say the things I really wanted to say to Mom before she died.

My point? Commuting isn’t always evil and horrible. (Not many things are *always* anything.)

Commutes can be a good time to let your mind wander – to make connections. To recall. To imagine. To let love swell up in your heart for the people who make life worth living. To make room for gratitude (in between flipping off all the assholes, of course). To laugh. To talk to yourself (under cover of “hands free” phone calls)…

In that spirit, I pulled out the trusty iPhone during a recent commute and shot some footage. Figured what the hell. Just held that sucker up and recorded the passing scenery.

I got home that night and ran it through the computer, and watched it. Nothing too spectacular.

But suddenly, my eyes got hooked.  I saw little details I’d never seen – colors, shapes, movements that appeared to belong to someone else’s day. But they belonged to mine. I had just stopped seeing them years ago.

Funny how that happens. With time, the wondrous becomes the familiar, and the familiar becomes the invisible. But it doesn’t become any less wondrous. We just need to look at it again, more closely, from a different angle.

That’s what I attempted to do when putting together this video for my new song.

It’s kind of a mash-up of my commute, and some of the people and images that sometimes run through my mind on a good day’s drive.

Of course, many of my nearest and dearest aren’t in this montage. I just culled it together quickly from images on my hard drive and Facebook accounts. So if you’re not in it, please don’t think I left you out on purpose. I can think of a dozen people right off my head who should be in here.

Anyway. I suppose if there’s any connective theme here between the images and the music, it’s gratitude. It’s also loss. It’s reaching middle age and seeing the whole view from the top of the roller coaster. There’s sadness in that, of course. At one time, the sadness drove me to drink oceans of Old Loudmouth.

Now it drives me to do dangerous things like filming with my iPhone at 70 miles per hour.

So without further ado, here it is. Tangled Glory.

11 Responses to “Tangled Glory”

  1. tlivin9422 August 27, 2014 at 3:06 am #

    Another masterpiece. Great writing, filming and editing. Hope you’re do’in great. Filming at 70 is definitely the way to go. Love Tim

    • The Publisher August 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      Tim – thanks for the encouragement and the kind words. Wow. From the guy who wrote Cinderella Liberty, that’s about as high a compliment as I could ever hope to receive. All’s well here, my brother. BTW – the solo and fills were done with my new baby – the Taylor 314ce. Normally I would do the opposite – use a steel string for rhythm and the nylon for fills. It gave it a different sound. (Don’t know if I told you I sold the Martin and bought a Taylor. Pretty different little sound on that thing.) Love ya!

  2. The Publisher August 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Also – do you have your blog up and running??

  3. The Publisher August 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Just checked it out – looks like you still gotta get that thing fired up. Let’s get hoppin’! I gotta hear some Doc tunes, man.

  4. Ang September 9, 2014 at 5:06 am #

    Damn you

    I’d almost made it through a day without crying

    But ok. I admit these were mostly happy tears. And maybe a few jealous ones cause you’re ridiculous. I love you

    • The Publisher September 10, 2014 at 2:19 am #

      Aw – thanks Angie. Your comment really kinda made my day tonight. Means so much. Nothing to be jealous about by the way – your musicianship is something I aspire to! Love ya.

  5. lovinglivingandbeing September 20, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    What can I say, Jay? This is a magnificent piece of work. Made me cry, made me smile and made me marvel at your talent. I am slightly concerned with the fact that you were singing, playing guitar and filming your memories while jetting in and out of traffic. 🙂 The song is a new hit with the Montana family. ❤

    • The Publisher September 21, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      Hey, wow – what can I say. You’ve just made my day and it’s 5:35 a.m., so now I can just relax and enjoy the rest of it! If it connected with you, and meant something and didn’t offend your eardrums, I couldn’t be more pleased. Although please don’t forward to the Maryland Highway Patrol. I’m sure I broke about 17 different traffic laws during the filming of this “video.” Haha. But seriously… You’re not even supposed to talk on your cell while driving, let alone take sweeping panoramics of the Baltimore freeway system. Love ya. Jay

  6. jaz November 7, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    not really sure what this video & song means but it does mean so much. also you should know I never really liked the color yellow until now. thanks jay you da bestest love your fav from Cali, jaz

    • The Publisher November 12, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

      Haha – Jaz, I’m not entirely sure either what it means. For me, it something about how we tend to look at our past through rose-colored glasses, and think about how great everythign was… and it is. It WAS glorious… but not in the simple terms we see when bathing in sentimentality. So that glory is tangled… complicated… much more interesting than the sepia photos might suggest. Anyway… enough philosophizing for one day. 🙂

    • The Publisher November 12, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

      One more note – I think it’s also a cautionary tale warning us to take teh whole “things used to be much better back then” attitude with a huge grain of salt… because it ain’t necessarily so.

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