Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ryan Adams, running, and life

when I was finishing my sophomore year of college -- I had been an RA for freshmen girls that year, and was headed to a semester in Europe in the fall -- one of my good friends gave me this mix CD. she actually gave it to a bunch of us girls who were part of a class-mandated small group that turned into way more than a class-mandated small group, and even though I don't see this person much anymore, I still think of her as a close friend (am I weirding you out yet?) because of the intimacy with which we traveled the journey of a deeply and intensely formative year.

the small group has, obviously, since disbanded, and in ways that I could never have expected, they mostly all remain in my life in some fashion. one of them lives not too far away, and keeps teaching me thing after thing after thing. another one is part of a new small group, four hundred miles away from where the first one took place. there was one who i thought would be a best friend for the rest of my life and, as life would have it, is not.

but you know how some people influence you - the right people at the right time, or not right, but right for you, or however you think of it - more than you actually know in the moment? that was this small group. and that was lisa, the maker of the mix CD. it was named after our omelet orders in the DC at Westmont -- class would get out at an hour reasonable enough to still be having breakfast, especially for college, so we would sit at the same table and take bites off each other's plates. sin cebolla, no bacon.

this was my first introduction to Ryan Adams, and I played that CD on loop so many times those last weeks of sophomore year that I cannot hear "La Cienaga just smiled" without an instant mental image of my tiny RA room crammed to the gills with boxes, hot breeze blowing through the window, lots of future ahead of me but only existing, for that moment, in R-207. Time stopped when I listened, and that was where I was.

And quickly, life moved on. But it moved on just a bit differently, because I knew that I was known. And I was in the throes of deeply anxious feelings, but being known gave me something to rest into.

I went for a run this morning. Zack took my iPod to Tahoe last weekend and, ahem, forgot to charge it so I was faced with the prospect of running without music -- and I am just not there. So I picked up my iPhone, shuffled around to see what could get me through several miles in the mounting morning heat, and headed off with Ryan Adams in my ears. And for so many reasons that I couldn't even begin to mention, when La Cienaga comes on, I am transported instantly to a table in the DC, to my packed-up RA room and saying goodbye, to an uncertain future and to dreams I have and dreams to let go of and a world of goodness to live in-between those two. It was a gift of the moment and a gift of the past; the two gifts that give us all what we need to move into the future with a sense of who we are.

And I hold you close in the back of my mind
Feels so good but damn it makes me hurt
And I'm too scared to know how I feel about you now
How I feel about you now
La Cienega just smiles and says, "I'll see you around"

1 comment:

emilykatz said...

first things first: i just caught up on your last seven posts as my browser JUST updated my blogs (dumb).

second: oh man, i remember those days. the burritos and really really good moments together.

third: what else was on that cd? i wish i could find it.