Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Into White














Into White

I built my house from barley rice
Green pepper walls and water ice
Tables of paper wood, windows of light
And everything emptying into White.

A simple garden, with acres of sky
A Brown-haired dogmouse
If one dropped by
Yellow Delanie would sleep well at night
With everything emptying into White.

A sad Blue eyed drummer rehearses outside
A Black spider dancing on top of his eye
Red legged chicken stands ready to strike
And everything emptying into White.

I built my house from barley rice
Green pepper walls and water ice...
And everything emptying into White

- Cat Stevens


Into White was written and recorded by Cat Stevens and was released on his 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman. It remains to this day one of my top ten favorite albums/CDs.

When the album was new it seemed everyone in Reno was playing it on their car radios and on dorm/apartment stereos at parties. When I heard those songs I was mellow and in love with the air I breathed.

A few summers later I was attending the University of Nevada and living with my new boyfriend who was a lawyer nine years older than I. In the beginning of our two years together I idolized him and he adored me. We'd had a beautiful day boating on Lake Tahoe and were starved for a good dinner. Reno-Tahoe had experienced an explosion of restaurants that catered to young adults who were out for fun and fresh food served with festive drinks in an atmosphere featuring rough-hewn wood, live plants, large aquariums full of exotic fishes, candlelight, waiters and waitresses who smelled of patchouli, and always, always, live music.

We found one of those places but it had a shoes required sign posted at the front walk. That says a lot about the times, doesn't it? I was barefoot, and crestfallen when we saw the sign. But my boyfriend, anticipating a darkened room, said we'd get a table and he'd sue if they tried to evict me. As I said, he adored me then. There must have been something about the confidence we felt about the night and one another (plus, the room really was dark), but we had no problem being seated.

The musician that night was a charmer. He sang nearly all of Cat Stevens' songs and he sang them well. Under the spell of the music and intoxicated from sunburn, drink, my own power, the depths of happiness seemed limitlessness that evening. Into White told a tale of something I didn't yet have, and I had a sense that I wouldn't have it with the beautiful man I was with at the time. I didn't know that the harmony it described would elude me for decades. But I knew I wanted to live in the song, and there are more days than not when, now, I do.

7 comments:

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

What a lovely story! I don't have such fond memories of people that were a part of my life. Not that I had all bad times with any of them, but I surely don't think of them as fondly.Thanks for sharing.

a little bird said...

as always, such a beautiful post. what is it about cat stevens? his songs always seem to evoke the most nostalgic and beautiful memories.

francessa said...

Beautiful photos! Did you take them?

The story is a little melancholy, but I had to smile when I imagined how you went into this restaurant with your bare feet ;-).

Tea for the Tillerman is great, but I also quite like Yusuf's An Other Cup of Tea.

Lydia said...

Wanderer,
Actually, thinking about Big Sur reminded me of my time with that guy; he's the one who took me there and to Nepenthe. I guess I have come to peace with my past, but don't get me wrong - I'm not wearing rose-colored glasses, and you haven't heard about my ex yet!

Robin,
I'm surprised and impressed that someone your age would have such a feeling for Cat Stevens music. You're a wonder.

Francessa,
I absolutely agree with you about his "An Other Cup of Tea." I own that CD and now that you've reminded me of it I will listen to it this week sometime. It went basically unrecognized in the U.S. because of the whole Islam angst. Was it popular in Germany?

Lydia said...

Francessa,
p.s. Yes, I took the photos in - and above - our yard. Glad you liked them.

Honour said...

This is such a lovely haunting story. It made me want to go find the song online and listen ...

Lydia said...

Honour,
Thank you. Here is a link where you can hear an excerpt from all songs on Tea for the Tillerman. http://music.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?WRK=73364

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