can’t push the river

A quiet Friday morning with cats. I now live in a house with four cats. And I love it. I love the mellow trickling of the fish tank down stairs, the community of succulents on the patio, the calm meals prepared, and the lovely lady who kisses me goodbye in the morning.

The bike ride down town follows the American River and then through the old neighborhoods of East Sac; big houses, each different, in blocks of alphabetized and numbered streets. My mother grew up in this town, forever second fiddle to San Francisco, in ways bad and good. Ronald Regan lived in one of these houses, Nancy refusing to live in the “fire trap” of the old Victorian governor’s mansion down town. I’m not sure where Arnold lived.

I go to yoga once a week at the Yoga Seed Collective. I catch the FTM meeting once a month and meet the new fellas in town. I hit up my favorite AA meetings two or three times a week. I putter with Dad in the garage and have lunch with Mom at the Tower Cafe. I come home and make meals with Sarah, we talk about our days. And I read books. An endless stream of books.

Balance is such a funny thing.. so elusive at times, but perhaps both sides of the teeter totter are just heavily but equally weighted. They may swing wildly in the turmoil, but always the solid fulcrum, and always a force coming and going that wanes back to equilibrium. Perhaps forces in motion can even be classified as an equilibrium of sorts.. nothing is ever truly not in motion. You can’t ever prove a body is at rest. Relativity chuckles. But when balance settles in for a time, it is so novel I notice every little thing about it. It used to unnerve me, and I suppose it still does a little, but now it is much more a delightful new experience to play in.

I miss the desert. I miss the long drives and the shows. I miss the shows terribly. I miss the songs that once flowed from that inner channel, I don’t know what happened. Every time I think about creating a song a dusty cloud of frustration, sadness, and shame kicks up into my face and I turn away. I want to delete that statement, it feels way too personal. I’m not in despair though – a cat on my lap, a cat by my side, two upstairs, home made muffins on the counter, coffee to drink, a bike to ride, more inspiring words to read, friends to see, and a lady that will come home and kiss my forehead with a smile. I missed Song School this week for the first time in six years, my yearly trek across the Rockies to Lyons, CO in the most indirect line I can concoct. I am staying to work myself out of the red. Weird. I am also trying not to push the river. Let it be, let it flow, let it happen. And trust that the desert, the drives, the shows, and the songs from the well will return.


4 thoughts on “can’t push the river

  1. Sometimes the ground needs to rest fallow before it can produce again. Let it rest. In the meantime you are doing good work when being still is hard, Joe Stephens. Peace.

  2. When you’re ready to try songwriting again, try something different. Your songs have been so deeply personal, and I think that might be what’s hard about it right now. You’re in a different place in life, and going back to that other place could entail another setback, and the loss of the balance you’re so fortunate to have found. So maybe try writing something entirely fictional like a conversation between the fish in the tank and the cats – or whatever your imagination brings you. Meanwhile, just let the well fill. Namaste, Joe. Missed you in Lyons!

  3. THank you Joe, I can relate. I am sure the songs will return. So glad to hear from you and about your life. Pretty darn good. I love yuu.

    Aunt Ann

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