Sunday, August 01, 2010

'safe at last, seeing my thoughts are in order...'

I spent yesterday in my basement library plowing through reserves processing in anticipation of the all too quickly approaching fall semester.  I actually love summer Saturdays in the library -- so dark and cool and quiet.  One or the other of my student employees will inevitably go on a coffee run at some point, and we chat for a bit, and then they do their thing and I do mine.  On the hottest of days it's almost a pleasure to be in the office, partaking in air conditioning on someone else's dime, listening to Radio Paradise as I work my way through the day.

Yesterday, mid-afternoon, they played this song, the Cocteau Twins' Summerhead, and I found myself abruptly thrown back to the summer of '95.

I spent that summer, the summer after my freshman year at Barnard, lifeguarding at the lake and living in a funny little apartment above neighbors Mike & Kathy's garage. Star, my childhood cat who stayed with our Mohegan house when the rest of us went our separate ways, came to visit most evenings. He refused to come inside, but would perch on the back steps and caterwaul until I went out and sat with him for awhile.  I would perch next to him there on the steps, scratching his ears and smoking a clove and listening to the Cocteau Twins wafting through the screen door from the boom box back in the bedroom.

This was one of those songs that I listened to a lot that particular summer.  This and Bjork's Hyper-ballad, which to this day has the power to move me to tears. Oh those lyrics, and oh those final thirty seconds.

It was fun and disarming and sweet to revisit that July of fifteen years ago so unexpectedly yesterday afternoon, but I am happy to never have to be nineteen again.

we live on a mountain, right at the top
there's a beautiful view from the top of the mountain
every morning i walk towards the edge
and throw little things off, like car parts, bottles and cutlery
or whatever i find lying around

it's become a habit, a way to start the day

i go through this before you wake up
so i can feel happier to be safe up here with you

it's real early morning, no one is awake
i'm back at my cliff still throwing things off
i listen to the sounds they make on their way down
i follow with my eyes 'til they crash
imagine what my body would sound like
slamming against those rocks

and when it lands will my eyes be closed or open?

i'll go through all this before you wake up
so i can feel happier to be safe up here with you... 
(Bjork.  Also there is this awesome Andy Clockwise cover)

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