Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cocoa, Bells, and Chimes of Freedom

Sleigh bells ring, are ya listenin'? Wait, wrong song.

Iiiiiii'm dree-ming of a Whiiiiite Christmas. Juuust like the onnnnes I uuused to know. (Ya can't just say those words, they've gotta be sung.)

As it approaches the midnight hour it feels like Christmas Eve here in Fairbanks. Okay, well, not really. Sort of. It did a little while ago when I was outside.

It's been snowing lightly since the afternoon, constantly falling down to the ground and covering where the last significant snowfall a couple days ago had melted away in the sun.

Usually if it's hot it's gotta be coffee but tonight felt right again for some hot chocolate. Then it struck me to bundle up a little and sit on the porch for awhile, just to watch the white stuff coming down. Flannel-lined pants and warm shoes, a fleece jacket and hat and mug of cocoa later, I was enjoying the unbelievable peacefulness of a still evening with falling snow. Sounds like the title of a painting -- Still Evening with Falling Snow.

Less than a football field away, there's a telephone pole with a light on it . Just sitting and watching I became mesmorized by the snow in the glow of the light. Looking straight in front of me, my big furry happy dog lays in the yard, oblivious, it seems, to the conditions that make up his current place of rest. With the Siberian and arctic ancestry, it's just paradise to him. Beyond there are just trees across the snow-covered dirt road. With that backdrop I could see the softly falling snow, a scene of pure calmness I could very easily bask in... but there's something about the snow in the light that is... I don't really know. Mesmorized, yes, but I felt taken back to simpler times in New Jersey and New York and Christmas on the Hudson. The snowfall in that one solitary light symbolized an amalgamation of this life lived, all its good times and bad rolled up into a single feeling of serenity. Even though I know it's not here I should be, not in this half wilderness, half central Alaskan-style mini-suburbia that is Fairbanks, sitting on my front porch watching the peaceful Snowfall in October is so close to perfect... or at least a nearly perfect stand-in that will and does suffice. It's in New York where my heart truly is. Yet it's here I have landed. And it's here I live. And it's in this here and now that I try to make the most out of this life... sipping hot cocoa outside on the porch on this quiet road in the woods, imagining sleigh bells in the quietly falling snow of early October, well, that ain't a bad part of livin'.

Back inside, time for some vintage Boss...

Bruce Springsteen

Chimes Of Freedom


Tougher Than The Rest (live)
Be True
Chimes Of Freedom
Born To Run
(live - acoustic)

One of Springsteen's biggest faults is he hasn't released 3-cd sets of his concerts similar to the Grateful Dead. Fans would've bought those up, without a doubt. Now Springsteen ain't no Grateful Dead meaning his concerts have always had a certain standardness to them -- same songs from night to night. Borrrrr-ring. But good. And there were certain tunes thrown in here and there for a little difference one concert to the next. But overall still essentially the same so that means really one release per tour would have been perfectly sufficient. Unfortunately Bruce hasn't even done that. Quiet sad because it would be so damn cool to have an official release of a show from each album tour. Oh well.

On a positive note -- he has given the fans a ton o' good stuff through the years. While it only clocks in at only 21½ minutes, Chimes Of Freedom is a sweet little gem. The tunes were recorded in the Spring and Summer of 1988 so this is vintage Springsteen and the E Street Band. I remember when this came out I went and got it in the first day or two and on one of those new mini-CD's that never stuck around very long. Probably somewhat of a collector's item now, too bad I don't have it. But I've got this version which I haven't spun in far too long. Unfortunately this isn't the original with Bruce talking about joining the upcoming Amnesty International tour with Sting and Yousou N'Dour. Even without that, this is some great music!

Bob Dylan I hope is happy with Springsteen doing his legendary song, Chimes Of Freedom. Some Dylan purists, I imagine, would think only Dylan can do Dylan right but I love this version. I'm able to really get into, I mean deep into the meaning of the lyrics, and feel the pain of this world, of suffering... and it hurts. I'm glad that was on Bruce's mind then. It should be on everyone's mind -- always.

Far between sundown's finish
an' midnight's broken toll

We ducked inside the doorway,
thunder crashing

As majestic bells of bolts
struck shadows in the sounds

Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors
whose strength is not to fight

Flashing for the refugees
on the unarmed road of flight

An' for each an' ev'ry underdog
soldier in the night

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In the city's melted furnace,
unexpectedly we watched

With faces hidden while the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells
before the blowin' rain

Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel,
tolling for the rake

Tolling for the luckless,
the abandoned an' forsaked

Tolling for the outcast,
burnin' constantly at stake

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the mad mystic hammering
of the wild ripping hail

The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells
blew far into the breeze

Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle,
striking for the kind

Striking for the guardians
and protectors of the mind

An' the unpawned painter behind
beyond his rightful time

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the wild cathedral evening
the rain unraveled tales

For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues
with no place to bring their thoughts

All down in taken-for-granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an' blind,
tolling for the mute

Tolling for the mistreated,
mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute

For the misdemeanor outlaw,
chased an' cheated by pursuit

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a cloud's white curtain
in a far-off corner flashed

An' the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows,
fired but for the ones

Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones,
on their speechless, seeking trail

For the lonesome-hearted lovers
with too personal a tale

An' for each unharmful, gentle soul
misplaced inside a jail

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed an' laughing
as I recall when we were caught

Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time
an' we watched with one last look

Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching ones
whose wounds cannot be nursed

For the countless confused, accused,
misused, strung-out ones an' worse

An' for every hung-up person
in the whole wide universe

An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

No comments:

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated