November 13, 2007

One of the things I dislike most about being out here in Arizona is its incessently pleasant weather. Especially in the fall, when an endless stream of perfect days roll in one after another, like the waves on a surfer’s dream beach. You see, there’s a very melancholy side of me that likes – even needs – the dreariness, chill, and dampness of a New England November; in fact, it’s the month when I miss my home the most.

I think the perfect weather out here does the locals a great disservice – for those who live here year-round, there’s something about the environs being too perfect: kinda makes you think life itself reflects the weather, and maybe you come to expect too much from it. For the snowbirds, it’s a means of escape – escape from the cold, escape from the snow, escape from the tests and travails of life, if only for a season or two.

Well, I need those. In fact, there’s a part of me that thirsts for inclement weather and the inclemencies of life. Maybe because it’s part of my Newfoundland heritage. Maybe it’s out of the sheer weariness every day brings after everything I’ve been through spiritually over the past fifteen years. Or, maybe it’s out of some deep inner sense of guilt from having lived way too fortunate a life as compared to the majority of the other inhabitants on this planet – who knows? Either way, these inclemencies (in whatever form they take) force you out of your comfort zone and require you to live, not just to simply exist like some hamster on a wheel in a numbingly-same routine and environment day in and day out, like I think most people around here do.

…But I digress on the point of this post. Exhausted after a trip to the dentist (Ed. note: whenever I have a trip to the dentist scheduled, I never sleep well the night before, and there’s something about novocaine that absolutely wipes me out following the appointment], I woke up with the late Randy Vanwarmer‘s hit tune from 1979, “Just When I Needed You Most” in my head, and for some reason, it made me lonely and sad, to the point of tears.

Now everyone has their own tastes and feelings when it comes to music – what touches one may not another in the same way – but to me, the thing I always liked about this particular song is that it wasn’t wimpy, like some drivel Barry Manilow or The Carpenters might sing. No, neither artist would ever be able to even graze the picture of sheer despair, desperation, and resignation Vanwarmer paints here. You can tell his song comes from personal experience (writing it while living in damp and dreary Cornwall, England, he was quoted as saying, “the song is really about the weather. It’s not hard to write a really sad song in the winter in Cornwall”), not from any attempt to blatantly write something that would sell.

You packed in the morning, and I
stared out the window and I
struggled for something to say.
You left in the rain without closing the door
I didnt stand in your way
Now I miss you more than I
missed you before and now,
where I’ll find comfort, God knows…
‘Cause you left me
just when I needed you most
Yes, you left me
just when I needed you most

Now most every morning I
stare out the window and I
think about where you might be
I’ve written you letters that I’d like to send
if you’d just send one to me
‘Cause I need you more than I
needed before and now,
where I’ll find comfort, God knows
‘Cause you left me
just when I needed you most
Yes, you left me
just when I needed you most

You packed in the morning, and I
stared out the window and I
struggled for something to say.
You left in the rain without closing the door
I didnt stand in your way
Now I miss you more than I
missed you before and now,
where I’ll find comfort, God knows…
‘Cause you left me
just when I needed you most
Yes, you left me
just when I needed you most

Whenever I hear Vanwarmer’s song, I relive the way I felt amidst the ashes of a couple of failed relationships in my past, and it’s all brought back to the present, as if I were living those times all over again. And you know, there’s something inherently precious about that – something personal, something intimate you would never share with anyone else; something you know you’ll take with you to your grave. As the late Dennis Wilson once sang, “loneliness is a very special place; to forget is something that I’ve never done…” Indeed.

I think we all need sad lonely songs that touch our hearts and our souls from time to time, even when they bring us to the point of tears. You see, that’s one of the gifts God has given us through music – the ability to be touched and be moved, whether it be to joy or sadness, when all around us and within us suggests, perhaps even screams, otherwise.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:39 | Comments (0)
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