A Parting of Ways

“Sometimes rain that’s needed falls”

The Central Valley is poised for a particularly arid and feverish summer after this benign winter we have had, but for now it rains. The dim light through the house, the shuffling of slippers with steamy coffee in hand, the lazy cat on the chair by the window, the rush of the wind and water against the outside walls; this is the day.

Tomorrow I will drive Highway 49 south along the foothills of the Sierra and spend a day with a mentor of mine, the long haired quirky and spiritual woman who taught me Spanish in high school, whom I have not seen in many years. Then I will take 99 south to 58 at Bakersfield over the Tehachapis, spend a night and catch some stars out near Boron somewhere in the Mojave before cutting around the San Gabriels and dropping into the big urbania which is L.A.

My brother is in jail again. He was due, an eclipse that is practically clockwork. The preceding silence used to be so unnerving, but now the cycle has become so commonplace, more like getting your registration renewal in the mail. A hundred bucks you weren’t planning on spending, but it’s part of the bargain so you pay it and forget about it until next time. I once stumbled into an Al-Anon meeting on accident, thinking it was once of my usual meetings, and figured I might as well check it out. It didn’t occur to me that I qualify completely for that group as well. When I heard the current news I went through my normal cycle – I should have gone to his birthday dinner, I should have called even though I knew it wasn’t safe and he never calls me, I should have gone to his Prop 36 graduation.. I know better these days, and those cycles are mercifully brief. They pass as quickly as they arrive, with predictable character. His is not my journey. Survivor’s guilt is a funny human facet, one that only requires a few honest siftings to separate the attachment to the ideal from the actuality of things, simple but certainly not easy. We draw our hand, and we play it, at the table we find ourselves.

I am entering unfamiliar territory – land that has been viewed from vistas past and told of by others, but that has not been explored first hand. I now believe that what I was searching for in the “ultimate party” is actually to be found in the quiet lucidity of the moment. Here’s to a parting of ways.

Rain on, baby blue:)

j

4 thoughts on “A Parting of Ways

  1. Love this Joe, you are a great writer (but I guess that could be assumed from knowing your songs)… When I read “parting ways” and saw Coyote Joe, I thought this post was about Coyote Grace breaking up… Thankfully that wasn’t the case. Hope to get to see you LIVE again soon! You are truly an amazing talent. I’ll be out in California at the end of the summer, I got the lead role in movie based on Transgender Author Toni Newman’s Memoir “I Rise” and will be filming in L.A. for a few weeks, hopefully the stars align and you’re playing at the Mint again or something.

    Wishing you continued success…

    Angelica Ross a.k.a. “Miss Ross” šŸ˜‰

  2. Thank you Joe, for keeping us apprised of your journey…and changing philosophy. Your continued courage is an inspiration. Have a safe and successful journey.

  3. You really are a great writer. It’s scary to hear that and some of us are afraid to live up to the expectation. I suppose, then, that a better way to put it would be that you’re actually just a great person who happens to write well.
    In the inevitably self-centered nature of our youth, we shared moments of mutual observation, at the same time and place, but we both lived in very different worlds. So when I think about you I think about a handful of moments where our lives almost intersected, but only briefly brushed against each other instead. If I’m honest, I think the world of you and I don’t even know who you are. You’ve always been nice to me, though I never deserved it. And so I think of you fondly and I observe and appreciate Joe moments like this. Thinking of you finding serenity makes me happy. Thank you.

  4. Joe,

    Your writing really is incredible.
    I find myself lost in it really.
    Your journey is one amazing thing, made more beautiful but the challenges you overcome.
    I am sorry about your brother, sorry too that your relationship with him went the way it did.

    You have come a long way to get where you are.
    Your mind, and the swirlings within, put on paper are inspiring and arresting at the same time.
    As you follow along your path of mixed unknowns and certainties, you bring us along also.
    I wish you would write a book – it would be read by many.
    I hope your self discovery (re-discovery) is helping you to heal.

    Your “parting of ways” reminds me of my fav.poem by Robert Frost ~ Two Roads ~ in so many ways, this poem reflects your journey as well.
    How many roads have you chosen, to get to where you are, roads less travelled by, ones that have made all the difference.

    You’ve got a solid fan base. We are rooting for you every step of the way.

    P.S. Love the chickens in your photo above! People say they are stupid birds but I beg to differ. Some of the smartest creatures I’ve known!

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