Time is running out, as it does for all of us. I’m well past half the age I’m going to be when I finally check out of this old hotel for the final time. Life is something to look forward to, but it’s also something to look back on. Looking back is how you know what adjustments to make going forward. Life ahead is still unknown, but life behind is now visible, no longer a mystery. Where did I get it right? And how’d I do that? It’s all there in the rear view mirror of life. Where did I screw it up? And how the hell did I ever screw it up that bad? That’s all there as well. Same mirror, different view.
Some people say they never look back. Well, I guess those are the guys that never messed anything up. Or maybe they messed up so much they can’t deal with the consequences, or the repercussions, the memories even. Seems to me like a hit-and-run kind of posture. If I ever cause an accident I’d like to think I’d remain on the scene long enough to handle things in a responsible and compassionate manner, taking care of business before moving on with the rest of my life. But I’m sure that, on occasion, I would revisit the scene of the accident in my mind, to explore what went wrong, to figure out how to prevent the same kind of thing from happening again. What I would not do, however, is remain at the scene of the accident, pitch a tent, and live there for the rest of my life, regretting the day that I ever got in my car. What would the point of that be? Gotta move on, as they say, from everything really. No matter what.
On the other side of things, if I ran into good fortune along the way, not only would I get out of the car to shake his hand, I’d give him a ride to where he was going, and then I’d go back and visit him on occasion to make sure we stayed connected.
What do you mean you never look back?
Speaking of looking back. . . . . .
Some things I’d like to look back on; things I’d still like to do
before it gets to the point where life is just doing me:
• Walk the Pacific Crest Trail alone.
• Ride the Pacific Crest Trail on horseback from Yosemite to Kennedy Meadows with my sons.
• Spend two years traveling the back-roads of the U.S. in my truck and trailer with my wife.
• Spend a summer traveling the Southwest and the Northwest with my grandson.
• Finish recording all the songs I’ve ever written. And keep writing new ones.
• Play a game of one-on-one basketball with Condoleezza Rice (I’m serious).
• Play a concert with my sons.
• Have a drink in a dive bar with Bob Dylan.
• Have coffee with John Walker Lindh (the American Taliban) as a free and forgiven man.
* Spend a long weekend in a cabin at Lake Louise with Gina (from the café in my novel ‘Wilderness’). Alright, I admit it, this one's just a shameless plug for the novel.