A couple days ago I was in Vancouver, a beautiful city. Had a great concert (with the JLCO), and a very nice hang at the jam session, where I met some interesting people, and reconnected with an ex-student of mine, Mike Allen. He sounds great as usual.
The last time we played here was two years ago. I remember having a day off and renting a bike. I drove the loop which circumnavigates Stanley Park - breathtaking views of mountains, ocean and skyline at the same time. I was looking forward to experiencing this again, but it rained. So I stayed in my room. I remembered something I wrote just after this bike ride and dug it up on my computer. I changed a few words, but this is essentially what I wrote that day:
The loss of innocence happens over time. It is not the result of a single act - the first time one discovers his body, or the loss of virginity. It is not the first lie told, or the the first time death is experienced, either up close, or on television.
The loss of innocence happens over time. It happens when we limit ourselves, limit what we think we can do, limit who we think we are. Give up on things. I feel the loss of innocence when I look at the world we are in. Yes, I see the obvious ways, like the focus on sex in our movies and magazine ads, the priority in acquiring money and material things. But it’s also how people stop asking questions, wondering; how people accept something far less than what they want, who they are. This is true loss.
I feel sad at what I see at times, not so much at the individual acts that people equate with this loss, but in the collective sense, the growing feeling that I would like to go back to something that I was, or never was. Like I skipped over a time that was part of who I am, but never truly experienced.
When I rode my bike yesterday, I saw nature - mountains, water, birds. They have seen much, but seem untouched by the loss. Even the people walking their dogs, laughing, taking each other’s pictures, seem at times unaware of the loss. Or perhaps they are ignoring it. But at some point they must feel it. The mountains showed me something: that despite what you see around you, you must remain yourself; not ungrowing or unchanging (as you must to survive, to adapt) but standing firm in the face of the changes going on around you, and become a stronger version of yourself.
I see my daughters come of age in this world, and see their own loss of innocence. Again, not in individual acts, but in their understanding a sense of what is going on out there, what they see around them. I suddenly feel sad that I have not lived with them these past 12 years. Like I missed something.
With love I see an opportunity to come back to something. Through love we can find a deeper sense of ourselves. Sometimes I want to run away from everything but this love. I want to move into it, like a new home, and decorate it with joy and pain and growth and yearnings. Architectural Digest would do a spread and people would see the most beautiful palace. They would also want to forget everything and move into their own new homes, and decorate it with the feelings they have forgotten about, passions they were afraid to embrace. Then the gardens would be tended with this same fervor, and neighbors would see colorful flower beds, and fruit trees.