There are certain moments, or maybe days, that seem to put things in perspective. More often than not, we're not exactly looking or reaching for that moment, but somehow it grabs a hold and we gather something. If we're lucky, we can make some sense of these often fleeting pinches of time. But usually an explanation is lost in the same way that one loses that dream within a moment of opening one's eyes.
Yesterday morning I hopped on the highway and traveled south about three hours down Highway 1. I hadn't been to Big Sur since January 1 of 2005, but this visit was more for the music than for the beautiful scenery, though I was certain that both would play a part. When I arrived at the Henry Miller Library grounds, I was struck by the beauty of this tiny corner of Big Sur. Lying deep below a surrounding mountain, the library is tiny, but rests on a small grassy area that provided the setting for the music.
The first few acts were ok, but as the sun slid behind the mountain wall, on walked Will Oldham and Emmett Kelly, better known as Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The lawn was packed, but everyone appeared to be comfortably situated as the fog rolled in and Bonnie "Prince" Billy began. A few songs into their full set, I began to realize that this was far from your standard collection of songs. The view around us all was absolutely breathtaking and Billy's music was a compliment to the land that left my throat tightening up. And then came "Strange Form of Life" from 2006's The Letting Go. As the verse drifted off and Kelly gradually strummed that beautiful guitar-part, I was there. For a few seconds, I looked to the trees, the sky, the mountain wall, and then closed my eyes altogether. I was literally inside the moment. And then it was gone. It had meaning, but I'm not sure exactly what. But the remnants sat with me for the rest of the day, and will likely provide a trail to somewhere.