The sun is beginning to shine on me,
But it’s not like the sun that used to be.
– Bob Dylan, “Highlands”
Overheard on South Street, outside the city’s worst supermarket: “Yeah, but most South Philly people, they’re really rude and psychotic, I’ve talked to them.” Good thing he didn’t talk to this South Philly person, I hate people when they’re not polite…
I guess the beautiful weather is making me ill. A storm is blowing through my head — I’m paraphrasing Tom Waits’ “Emotional Weather Report” — just ahead of a slow-moving cold front. I’m trying to push past the storm and avoid the cold front. I feel the sunshine on my face as I ride my bike past blossoming dogwoods and blocs of sluggish pedestrians. But it’s not my sunshine; I’m in it, but not of it.
Do I feel off-kilter because the winter ended with a long stretch of sunny 70-degree days? Have I blown the internal fuse that normally makes me feel good in such weather?
The world is only a projection of how well the mind is functioning. The mind isn’t functioning well if the present feels remote and the past doesn’t feel past.
I remember moments of bliss in bad weather. Sipping coffee with a friend in 14-degree weather, waiting for an early-morning bus ride to a bad job. Carrying a futon through snow-clogged streets to a cold fourth-floor walk-up the day after my son was born.
Sometimes there’s no bliss, even in beautiful weather. Laughter sounds sad. Good food tastes bad. Memories feel like regrets.
Monday was St. Joseph’s Day, my mother’s birthday. She’s been dead a long time, but time has no meaning when the mind plays tricks. Joking about her birthday, my mother used to sing “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano,” recorded by the Ink Spots in 1940 and written, as Wikipedia puts it, “as a tribute to the annual springtime return of the cliff swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano in southern California.”
She would speak of wanting to be present at the mission when the birds returned, but she never actually considered doing this. I should have put her on a plane and sent her out there.
Update from Climate Central:
The March heat wave continues to shatter longstanding records from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast, with more than 2,200 warm temperature records set during the month so far.
My mother used to sing that song all the time. It wouldn’t have occurred to her to actually go there, she was terrified of flying. But I suspect that like squirrels, she simply had a psychological tether that wouldn’t let her go more than a few miles from the place she was born.
She sounds EXACTLY like my mother!
Thanks, so much. I needed that bad; helped me come unstuck tonight.
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