Do you ever yearn, George?
Kramer to George, Seinfeld
The other night I was on the treadmill at home, a place I need to be more regularly. While there I watched part of a documentary about Bruce Springsteen and the making of his seminal album, Born To Run. I was captivated by Springsteen’s artistic vision and by the effort and energy that went into trying to put that vision into vinyl. Nearly every word, every phrase, every instrument, every note was pondered then played, then played again. Springsteen sought to put his thoughts and feelings into music, something that I have long admired in his entire body of work. While I appreciate everything he has done, there is something very special about Born To Run.
As I was watching, I also felt again some of those feelings I felt when I first listened to the record in my late teens. The joy, the angst, the longing, the searching, the yearning, that was on that record struck a deep chord in my young man’s soul. “But tonight you’re gonna break on through to the inside/And it’ll be right.” “Cause baby I’m just a scared and lonely rider/But I gotta know how it feels/I want to know if your love is wild/Girl I want to know if love is real. “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”
Coming upstairs when my time on the treadmill was over, I saw my daughter getting ready to watch a movie. She is home between her January class and the beginning of spring semester. It was 10:30 p.m. I thought of all the times I watched those late night movies in my own college days. While many movies are just for fun, many are also dream machines, stoking the imagination, feeding a certain yearning for more life – deeper, fuller, richer.
I’m 53, and glad for all the experiences I have had since those days of late night movies, and Born To Run spinning on a turntable (and sitting here typing on my computer I am looking at the vinyl album cover, now darkened around the edges). At the same time I never want to completely lose that part of a young man’s soul that continues to reach for something more, that continues to yearn for deeper thinking and feeling, that longs for a better world.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes”
With Faith and With Feathers,