Last night I went to see Silver Mount Zion, a band I have loved for a long time.
I wrote about them the last time I saw them and the same thing happened to me again, at this show; I could feel it, around the third or the fourth song, something loosening in my heart that I did not even know was constricted. I used to go to a drop-in punks' yoga class, a long time ago in a different life; the teacher was a woman whose name I have long since forgotten whose voice was a kind of superpower. She did the same meditation at the end of every class, something about being a hollow log in the middle of a moving stream. "Let all your suffering flow out of you," she would say, in her rich hypnotic purr, and without fail, every week, nearly half the class would begin to weep quietly--can you imagine it, a roomful of tattooed and ratty-haired urchins, lying on the dirty carpet of some community center and crying like little children. I cried like that, last night, the kind of crying that feels as though you are getting clean.
There is music that makes you nostalgic and then there is music that makes you feel a longing for the past that is something else. And there is music that makes you remember things about yourself that you had forgotten: as much as my home is here, in this city, it is also out west at the edge of the world, where the grey sky meets the grey sea, and all around you is silent woods and rain falling. There is no real doubt in my heart that I will end up out there again someday; I am something of a pessimist, and do not think the world will be as it is for much longer, and as much as I love New York I do not want to be here when the end comes.
But also when I think of myself as an old person, which is something I have begun to do only recently, I think of myself in a little house in the woods, making jam and shooting mason jars off a fence with a rifle, and making friends with the coyotes who live in the ravine behind my cabin. I expect I shall have to conduct my love affairs with hippies but there is no right path that does not involve sacrifice. It is good sometimes to listen to music that reminds you what matters at the heart of yourself, underneath the life you have made and the things you are building: the necessary animal living in your skin. I was more or less feral for a long time, and as much as I like eyeliner and Twitter, it is ultimately a state to which I will be happy to return. And for now I am happy here, at the beginning of a long-awaited spring, running laps of the park and working for money as little as possible so I have more time in which to procrastinate my third book, and listening, now, in my apartment, with the cat snoring softly beside me, to love songs written for the last days of the world. They're on tour now; you should go.