Sunday, August 31, 2008

Simple Joys

In Goldie Hawn's 2005 autobiography A Lotus Grows in the Mud she writes of driving down the California freeway in her '59 Chevy convertible towards the Mojave Desert on her way to Las Vegas .

She describes the extraordinary landscape with its 'rolling hills, parched brown by the summer sun, a few palm trees dotting the horizon. The wind is in my hair, the radio is now playing "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds and I feel so free."

She captures beautifully the possibilities of youth where worry and pain have not settled into the heart and optimistic eyes eagerly take in the happiness all around.

As my summer comes to a close and I prepare for another school year, I find myself reflecting on the summer that was. And the happiest moments, the moments that brought about youthful possibilities, are reminiscent of this passage from Goldie's (surprisingly good) book.

Namely, taking a drive in my '08 Volkswagen Convertible with the top down while listening incessantly to the impossible to find, but recently re-released on CD, first album by The Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt.

Funny how easily singing harmonies to songs that were recorded in 1967 can ease my spirit, calm my mind. Is that the power of music or the power of memory? Both are tied to the sun, the wind, the smell and the slower pace of summer.

I am beginning my 13th year as an educator and this was the 3rd summer that I availed myself of that enviable perk - two months off! Although I didn't get to spend it as I had planned, it was still wonderful to have time to just be; to read, to sleep, to write.

Each year I tell myself to hold onto this feeling when the chaos starts again. When I have deadlines, papers to write, meetings and my 4 hour (door to door) daily commute which sometimes causes me to walk around rather heavy lidded.

But like Goldie, I am driving towards my happiness and my calling in life. What better destination could there possibly be for any of us than that?


Pauline said...

driving toward your happiness - one cannot ask for better than that.

Reya Mellicker said...

No point in trying to hold on to anything, my darling. Enjoy the moment. It will definitely pass!

Love seeing your posts. I know you had a hell of a summer. onwards & upwards to fall!

Mona said...

Yeah, follow your bliss :D

((HUGS)) Gary!

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I hope the bliss follows you into the fall. Goldie's book has been on my list for some time. Thanks for reminding me to pick it up. I remember when thumbing through it at stores that it was one of the most beautifully designed bios I've seen.

Barbara said...

Music is the best elixir! I hope you can ease back into the routine without too much hassle.

Mimi Lenox said...

Good luck in the upcoming school year. I know how that can be. Summers off are the best to recharge and regroup. And of course, then there's sleep.....

WAT said...

My goodness. A post chock full of optimistic positive vibes.

I tells ya, driving with some good music on is a sweet deal. I have found myself really enjoying a good drive and some fine tunes, even if stuck in traffic. I concur my friend.

Lucky 13th year. You can do it with yer eyes closed dude!

Steve said...

Happiness and a calling in life is more than many people ever're actually very lucky! (But your commute IS too long...:) )

Shonda Little said...

God bless educators. I don't know how you do it. My best friend is a high school counselor. She's underpaid, overworked, but she still loves her kids. You totally have my respect.

d. chedwick said...

this goes so well with the film I made for you!!!! except I have you hopping instead of driving!!!

lettuce said...

we have just over 2 weeks before students return - and i've been finding it SO HARD to get motivated and get through all the work i still have to do....

it doesn't feel like driving towards happiness

but thanks gary, this helps me feel more positive about it

and i hope your wonderful children are filling you with joy and energy

Bob Dylan said...

enjoy the drive my friend.

Gary said...

Reya - That's what I try to do "enjoy the moment(s)". Onwards and upwards indeed!

Pauline and Mona - It is good to know I am on the right path - however I get there.

Gregg - I can pass the book along to you when I see you in a few weeks if you'd like. A little bloggie goodness to go with the VOTD marathan at Joy's place.

Barbara - Music has always worked for me. I just wish that I could play the piano like you do.

Mimi - Welcome! It seems like sleep is the one thing holding me back from doing even more. I gets me so tired sometimes I just need to drop.

Wat - I didn't think of that 13th year thing as associated with good or bad luck. Actually, I always have an amazing day whenever the 13th falls on a Friday so here's to hoping that this school year is full of Fridays! (at least in theory).

Steve - Yes, I am grateful for the fact that I found something that is so fulfilling and rewarding. We do spend a great deal of time at 'work' don't we? It may as well edify us and put forth some "optimistic positive vibes" (to quote Wat) into the world. And yes, the commute is WAY too long!

Shonda - Welcome and thanks. Teaching is actually a pretty sweet deal if you like children.

Ched - You made a film for me?Funny you should mention hopping because I have been called "Hoppy" by Keely Smith and Tigger by many. I can't wait to see the film. How cool is that?

Letty - I am sure that once you are back you will feel differently. I am so energized by my return. I think this is going to be an amazing year and I am looking very, very forward to it. Good luck with the start of term. (Isn't that what they call it there?)

Bob - I will. Perhaps you will find your way to my radio while I drive.

Mikey T said...

Makes me remember us driving to a billion different places belting a billion different songs - though none stands out so much as the Elephant Love medley from Moulin Rouge ...

Gary said...

Mikey - Moulin Rouge is def good driving music but how about driving you back to Boston University and singing along to Linda Eder's version of Man of La Mancha. Good times my friend.

Mikey T said...

gary -
perhaps you should create a mix CD of "driving songs" for our trek out to Uniondale in December?


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