The past is a terrible place to live. But occasionally, it’s heartening to visit. Once in a while, our past self sends our present self a message in a bottle. A year ago, over 25 years after it was written, with only the snippets of lyrics hidden in the background of the cover and a few live attempts 15 years ago to go on, Adam Duritz and co. finally finished and released the long lost title track to Counting Crows’ “August & Everything After”. I dug it out again yesterday, on a long, meandering pandemic walk in the neighborhood. It was a windy day, with high, puffy cotton ball clouds buffering a blue sky, that fit the lovely strings and woodwinds of the song, of Duritz’s bittersweet walk of a lyric.
I said I’m sorry to Maria
For the cold-hearted thing that I have done
I’ve said I’m sorry by now, at least once
To just about everyone
She says, “I have forgotten what I’m supposed to do today”
And it slips my mind what I’m supposed to say
We’re getting older and older and older and older
And always a little further out of the way
You look into her eyes
And it’s more than your heart will allow
In August and everything after
You get a little less than you expected, somehow
And it got me listening to “August”, the album, again. It’s been one of my favorite records for almost 25 years. It’s romantic, poetic and searching…more than a little bit lost but bursting with big hearted loves and losses. It seems timeless, in the same way Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” and “Moondance” do. “August” has always felt like a puzzle piece that fell out of my chest at birth, caromed under the couch and that as a teenager, I finally found and matched with my heart. It was a mainstay on the tape deck on countless late night drives around Cape in college; I still dig it out anytime I need to feel a little less alone. Listening to it through so many stages of my life has been like an ongoing correspondence with a distant, intimate friend, one that ages like a fine red wine. “August” is endless joy to sing along with and still never fails to elicit a tear and a wistful smile.
I will walk along these hillsides
In the summer ‘neath the sunshine
I am feathered by the moonlight
Change, change, change.