there is a gate behind our house that leads to a huge meadow, overgrown with pecan trees, fig trees, blackberry bushes, mimosa trees and even some cedars. it's "the woods" really-- the wilderness leads to a small pond, a creek and a big clearing. it's beautiful.
i never go back there.
i mean, seriously. snakes, mosquitoes, coyotes and deer live back there-- not to mention some huge rabbits who aren't even afraid of us when we walk through the yard. we live in the country. north rockdale-- the part of town i used to say someone was from if i thought they were backward...little did i know that my future husband was growing up out here. the only folks i knew to be living out here were the rameys. and that, friends, is enough said.
anyway, i was thinking of janis joplin tonight-- last weekend i watched a documentary about this festival she was part of in june of 1970, just a couple of months before she died. the festival took place in canada over the course of one week. the artists and their bands went by train to each of the three sites and spent the down time jammin in some of the most fantastic jam sessions ever captured on film: janis joplin, grateful dead, the band and others hung out, drunk and high and who knows what, harmonizing and laughing and making up songs that will never be sung again...
have you ever watched janis sing? she didn't just sing-- she ministered. she was a stitch to watch-- all over the place, she sang with that gravel-rock voice and changed words according to what she wanted you to know. she sang advise to her audience. she ministered from the wisdom she had collected at that point in her life. that broken girl was smart and intuitive in so many ways, from what i can see from this seat waaay back in the back. i can't see into her heart, but i know that musicians minister, whether they mean to or not, and that's what i've watched her do. but not now.
and i wonder what she would have done had she survived past those years that so many of us traversed just as stupidly. or practically as stupidly. when she died, she left so much unexplored...
and i thought of my gate. this great big expanse of possibilities. i'm wondering-- what enormous gates have i left unexplored? a bunch. going back to college was one of those gates and it did not disappoint me-- but it led to a whole mess of other gates.
now i don't anticipate dying of an overdose, and i have never bought southern comfort (hm. interesting...), but dying is only one way we avoid the adventure of possibilities. it may sound ridiculous, but i grieve over the loss of janis joplin-- she was adorable. she was crazy. she was brilliant. there's this moment in the documentary when she's sitting in a group of "famous 70's rock artists", harmonizing behind big purple circle sunglasses. she's obviously having the time of her life-- they all are-- when jerry garcia leans over toward her and says, "janis, i have loved you since the first time i saw you." cocking her head to the side, she grins and sort of giggles and there she is: she's a girl, a person, a woman. within months, she was dead-- jerry 25 years behind her, but still too soon.
expanse of possibilities. hm. i need to make a list.