Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reconciliation meditation

Listening to the old songs by Donovan over the last few days has brought up unexpected feelings of grief and loss, and the realization that when I was 18 years old, I listened to Bob Dylan and Donovan in equal measure, with immense gratitude.

"I rejoice to hear he's well, but I must go inland. Thank you for the words you've brought of my banjo man."

"Two riders were approaching. The wind began to howl."
(Bob Dylan)

"It ain't so bad. I'm just a lad. So many more things to do. I intend to come right through them all with you."
(Donovan, lyrics from "Celeste")

"Let us not talk falsely now. The hour is getting late."
(Bob Dylan)

My gut feeling is that it's not too late to be that hopeful and vulnerable and honest again. I am feeling a reconciliation of two parts of myself that had been estranged for 40 years.


The Solitary Walker said...

I never saw Donovan in concert, am - but have always liked him a lot (gently if not earth-shatteringly) - and thought that the high octane Dylan was a touch too hard on him in 'Don't Look Back'.

It's certainly never too late to be hopeful and vulnerable and honest, and I think that I've relearnt some of this openness in my meeting with fellow blogger George of Transit-Notes this past week ...

Reconciliation after estrangement -all good, good, good ...

am said...

It occurred to me in the past few days that Dylan was hard on almost everyone at that point in his life, especially those who thought well of him and those who loved him. I'm thinking of Joan Baez now and her experiences with him during the Don't Look Back tour.

I think about the changes that must have come about for him to write in recent years:

"I pray that I can be a kinder person."
(Bob Dylan, from Chronicles Volume One, 2004)

Wonderful to hear that you met with George of Transit-Notes this past week!

Taradharma said...

I am in constant flux between the two, am. It's my nature to be hopeful and open-wide with my heart but those attributes have also left me open to great disappointment and betrayal. I see both sides of the coin, as it were, and not sure which one is 'better.'

bev said...

When I listen to certain music of the 60s, there often exists a tension between that which is optimistic, happy, hopeful, confident, and that which leans toward pessimism, cynicism, and the hard edge of truth. I am not necessarily speaking of Donovan and Dylan, but just of a moment in time. For me, one of the hardest things about losing Don has been that with his death, there have been so many other losses - the security of having someone close to talk to when something is bothering me - the innocence of living freely without feeling as though something bad is waiting to spring on me - to have hope for a future that will still have some fun and happiness and in which there will be people to share creative moments. Sometimes, it makes me sad that I can't shake these feelings and hat I seem to have such a hard time reconciling the ups and downs of life. Could it be possible that the ups are all gone, leaving nothing but the downs. I do hope that, at some point, That which has been lost may be refound and that the two strains can coexist.

Loren said...

Even in my darkest moments, I've never been anything but hopeful -- though I sometimes fear I've missed the joy of the moment waiting for an even better moment to happen.

Yesterday's trip to Mt. Rainier was about as good as it can get, but I'm hopeful this Wednesday's trip to Vancouver will be a great day, too.

Anonymous said...

I always found the gentleness of Donovan more akin to my heart.

Chana Meddin said...

Amanda, I had the privilege of hearing Donovan in a very small, intimate venue in Atlanta back in the 1970's and never forgot the intimacy of that amazing concert! I really miss my art friend very much. Have cards at Artisans Gallery and a few paintings upstairs and met a lady at the pottery place in Fairhaven who, when she found out where I used to live, asked whether or not I knew you and said she really misses you, too, an old neighbor of yours. She couldn't believe it when I told her I actually did own one of your paintings, she loved your work and had seen your little book. Godspeed from the downtown Art Farm!

Anonymous said...

am, I am wondering what inspired you to start listening to Donovan again?

am said...

Taradharma -- My guess is that we need both, and that ultimately they compliment each other. It is interesting that I rediscovered Donovan during a time that I was suffering from a headache that lasted 5 days. It just occurred to me that I think that Bob Dylan may have been prone to headaches. It certainly gives one a different perspective, and for me this week, a receptiveness to Donovan's old songs. Hope you find relief from your extended headache soon.

bev -- " I do hope that, at some point, That which has been lost may be refound and that the two strains can coexist."

Thank you for writing down these thoughts as the third anniversary of Don's death approaches.
I'm approaching the third anniversary of my visit to Richard's grave in California on his birthday in 2008, a little over 5 months after he died. When I listened to Bob Dylan, I often heard Richard's voice and found tremendous comfort in that. After Richard died, I couldn't hear his voice in Bob Dylan. When I listen to Donovan, I just hear Donovan's voice and remember meeting Richard at the ocean for the first time when we were both 17. I was relatively innocent. Richard was, too.

Loren -- Yes. In a dark time, the eye begins to see. Hope.

Come to think of it, I never lost hope that Richard would find sobriety and freedom from drug addiction and that we would be together again. He was sober for the last six months of his life. I've said it before, I wish he could have seen your blog. His love for the natural world was much like yours. He was in some of the dark places you were. I don't think that he lost hope either, although his life played out very differently. He loved life.

robin andrea -- Good question. I'm not exactly sure.

I do know that I had emailed an old friend whose husband has been ill, attaching Donovan's "Summer Day Reflection Song" YoutTube video because it brought back a feeling that I thought might give her some peace, as it did for me to hear it again. When we were in high school, we used to take long walks in the hills above Redwood City during the hot California summer days and talk about Donovan and Bob Dylan and the Beatles and books and poetry and our hopes and dreams.

It must have been after thinking about my old friend and our summer walks and then remembering and finding "Summer Day Reflection Song" that I began to listen to one old Donovan song after another on YouTube and begin to realize that I had found a deeply hopeful part of my life that I lost had touch with.

Yum-Yum -- Good to hear from you and the Art Farm again in the context of Donovan's music. I hope to get over to the Artisan Gallery and see your art work soon. I was just looking again at the drawing you gave me, "Two Become Many," from April of 2008, right around when Richard died. I look at it often. Did my old neighbor tell you the story about the time we ran into each other in the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. in 1982, each of us unaware that the other had traveled to Washington, D.C.? That was an amazing moment!!