The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rhapsody on a Windy Night

It's mid-December, already, and the year is hastening toward oblivion so quickly that I can hardly catch my breath. I sat down to do a piece of writing that very much needed to be done tonight, and, while I got to a good point with it, it is not done.

I was felled, you see, by a bout of nostalgia.

I write to music, and I had a playlist that skipped randomly about tonight. A few songs came up that took me back to the mid-1980s and caught me short.

I don't know about you, but as I go on toward the end of my forties (seriously--that was bloody quick; Basil had a point), I am in a good place; I don't hanker for the past (though I wouldn't mind having my old waistline). But music can catapult me back in time, and into an old frame of mind, and I become two people--the Anglocat of the present, with half my mind and heart, and the much younger version.

And in that doubled perception, part of me feels every emotion as it was at the time, and the rest of me watches, bemused.

It's music that does it to me, generally. In this case, it was an old favorite from my youth, played by the aging piano man himself:

Now, honestly, I fell in love with the song as a teen, long before I had any relationship even remotely resembling one to which it could be applied. (It's the lyrics, the rippling notes of the piano, the rueful, loving tone of the song that got me).

And it still can.

So I embarked on a series of old favorites, each speaking to a different moment in time for me--the old songs that I listened obsessively to, again and again. (This is possibly my most irritating tic, that I will, in this frame of mind, play a song up to a dozen times, like I'm scratching a mosquito bite until it bleeds, and stops itching.)

It's an emotional catharsis, of a kind, and leaves me purged of the delusion that my youth is something to hanker after. That's the argumentum excrementum taurorem. I have never been in a better place than I am now. It's just that I sometimes need to pay a debt to the past, in order to appreciate where I am now. And the old songs are my way of doing that.

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