I learned to buy my records in a bunch, at a discount, at E.J. Korvette or Sam Goody in the city rather than overpay at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont. And one of the LPs I bought at the end of my initial Christmas vacation was Bob Dylan’s “New Morning,” and at the time I didn’t own a single LP by the man, wasn’t even that big a fan, but there was something about the reviews.
You see Dylan had released a dud only months before, “Self Portrait” was excoriated, so he blasted back with this more traditional LP and declared victory, and the press assented, so I bought it.
Dylan is an acquired taste. We used to have tons of these back when. Bands you hated and then came to love, when being unique was a badge of honor, when the audience didn’t feel superior to the acts, but vice versa.
And this was long past Dylan’s political period. He’d escaped to Woodstock and said he did not know best, but he did.
My favorite song on “New Morning” is “Sign On The Window”
Build me a cabin in Utah
Marry me a wife, catch rainbow trout
Have a bunch of kids who call me ‘pa’
That must be what it’s all about
That must be what it’s all about
We’re just animals, here to reproduce. If you’re lucky you’ll have kids and watch them grow up and mature, change, have identities. I’m waiting for my next lifetime for this, it’s not my greatest regret, but it is a path I did not take with rewards, as precious as any of those in the Fortune 500 or fame game.
But the song that’s been going through my head recently is “Time Passes Slowly.” I thought about it when I wrote that previous missive “Change Happens Slowly,” it’s just that the words didn’t fit, so I’m writing about it now.
Time passes slowly up here in the mountains
I used to live up there, in the mountains, before cable, never mind cell service, when people didn’t take plane trips on a whim, when you were off the grid, the city moved fast, but not the country, you had time to contemplate.
We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains
Nobody’s in a rush. You can feel yourself living. Today we’re all so busy going somewhere that we’ve lost touch with our feelings, our emotions, they scare us.
Time passes slowly when you’re lost in a dream
You think you know where you’re going but the amazing thing about life is you’re not in control, you can turn the steering wheel, but oftentimes it’s not connected to the chassis, life is an endless series of wake-up moments, where if you’re smart you readjust.
Time passes slowly when you’re searchin’ for love
There’s a fifteen year stretch I want back, between my ex and Felice, all the blind alleys. I don’t understand the people who jump from relationship to relationship, I think they’re just afraid of being alone. I don’t want to settle, good enough doesn’t work for me, I need someone to get me, I need someone I can connect with, but the search is endless. You’re judged by your exterior, you don’t even get a chance to come up to bat. You’re dismissed until you accumulate the chips that deliver attention. Or you just take what you think you’re entitled to, that’s the essence of this sexual harassment brouhaha, who are these people, I was never like that, never forget you cannot short circuit life without consequences.
Ain’t no reason to go anywhere
The internet put a huge dent in boredom. There are so many options. But there used to be this sense of ennui, you’d worked so hard to get ahead, put on your look, went to the bar, you just burned out and stared at the four walls, I don’t want to go back to that time but I remember it so well.
Time passes slowly and fades away
You’re not gonna get it back, that time you wasted waiting for the good times to come. Your hair turned gray, your body got creaky, you can see the sand draining out of the hourglass, you want to stop the march of time but it’s impossible.
And then you’re done and gone.
But you’ve got to experience it for yourself, you’ve got to make your own mistakes, but one day you wake up and want to go back and you can’t, you want more time but they’re not making any more of it. And this wisdom comes with age but old people are considered irrelevant. You know more than you ever did but no one wants to hear it.
So I got up to Middlebury and played my Elton John records. And this one too. Which was singular, unlike anything else, it stuck to my bones. You can hear an old song and remember when and then there are some that not only feel good upon hearing, but continue to deliver insight, that change with you even though they’ve never changed at all.