Am I correct in assuming that the term “bucket list” entered the lexicon with the 2007 film of the same name? I can’t say I’m a big fan of the term itself, but the concept behind it seems both interesting & valuable.
Of course, the “bucket list” concept embraces two seemingly contradictory notions of self— one, the idea of a continual striving that maintains vitality of spirit & gives us ongoing purpose, & two, the notion that some collection of achievements will be necessary for us to believe we have completed our selfhood.
We all think about these things, & those of us who are traveling north of age 50 may think about them in a different way than those who are a ways to the south of us, age-wise. After all, depending on our health & other cirucmstances, we are entering a period of time when these things should be attended to—“time & tide” wait for no one.
Last year, I got a chance to cross one thing off the list—a cross-country road trip that took me thru all four time zones in the continental US as well as thru 22 states (all told, I visisted exactly half the states in 2010 by the time all was said & done.) I also got a chance to see some old friends with whom I’d been out of touch for years—such reunions will always be high on any such list for me.
But there are more—over the next two days, I’ll explore a list of 10 I came up with the other evening—with brief commentary. I’d love to hear about your own wishes!
1) TOUR SPIEL: This is probably wish #1 for me. Because I entered the life of a performing musician in middle age, I missed the experience of crossing the country playing music at various stops on the way that so many of my friends had. Now, I’ve undergone enough cross-country trips to know this is not an easy thing (tho last year's journey was my most extensive in some ways, I’d already been coast-to-coast a few times in the past). I do long to do this at least once, & this is probably something that also needs to be high on the list because of practical/logistical considerations.
2) WHERE THE SOUTHERN CROSS THE DOG: This next wish combines two: a long passenger train trip & a visit to the Mississippi delta region where so much of the music that I love originated. Amtrak does swing thru this region on its City of New Orleans train out of Chicago. This is essentially an Illinois Central route, an important line that figured in lots of old blues songs, & also, as far as the actual stretch in Mississippi goes, it’s close to the old Yazoo & Mississippi line—the “Yellow Dog” from the line about “where the Southern cross the Dog.” If this trip could be extended to New Orleans, then two items could be crossed off—I’m chagrined to admit that I’ve never been to the Crecent City.
3) THE LOWER 48: When I was born in 1956, there were 48 states—Alaska & Hawaii both became states in 59. & at this point, I traveled in 46 of the “lower 48” states. The two I’ve missed? Michigan & North Dakota. I feel compelled to visit them both at some point. Michigan has the added attraction of the best music store I know, Elderly Instruments in Lansing, which I’d love to see—& also some blog/Twitter friends that I’d be happy to meet.
4) I'LL LET YOU BE IN MY DREAMS IF I CAN BE IN YOURS: As regular readers here know, I’ve long toyed with the idea of Eberle & I collaborating on music for some of my poetry, & that’s still an item high on my list (Eberle is interested too). This may or may not involve my book The Spring Ghazals & may or may not involve some vaguely planned & much belated “release party” for the book some time this year. I hear harmonium myself—actually, my musical role is more unclear to me in this regard, tho I will say it’s one thing that’s kept me from selling both of my electric guitars. I’m also thinking pretty often of writing songs, but that seems a separate project to me, one that would definitely involve new lyric material. I think the project with Eberle would involve background settings. Will keep you all posted when more develops!
5) I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING, & I KNOW WHO’S GOING WITH ME: I’m cheating a bit on this one, because it actually involves three separate trips, all of which Eberle & I have discussed as excursions we’d like to take together. Actually, we also want to take the train trip to Mississippi together, but I put that in its own category because that’s a real odyssey. These three trips are all in the west, so I’m putting them together. 1. Tour the Idaho desert with Eberle. Eberle has regaled me for years with stories of Bruneau Dunes, Murphy & Craters of the Moon. Some spring time we have to make it down there for a good long weekend of exploration. 2. The Badlands: I got to visit the Badlands & the Black Hills last year toward the end of my road trip & I was blown away. I also thought the whole time how much Eberle would get caught up in those places. We must go! 3. The Marietta Wild Burro range southeast of Hawthorne, Nevada. We often travel thru the ex-military desert town of Hawthorne on our way to the LA area, & we always mean to check out this wild burro range. Next time for sure. If the trip also included a stop in Death Valley, California, neither of us would complain!
Check back tomorrow for 5 more, & please do comment on your own if the spirit moves you. Hope you enjoy the video too—it explains my first heading with a great song from one of my all-time favorite bands.
PHOTO: Where the Southern Cross the Dog—intersection of the Southern & Yazoo rail lines in Moorhead, Mississippi.