The liturgy of the Dead reaches a form of cathartic climax in these first days of August, the days between Jerry’s birth (on the 1st) and his death (on the 9th). David Dodds uses the word sehnsucht to describe our emotions at this time, one of those German words which have no precise translation in English but which, he assures us, means longing or yearning.
At this time of year, we do two things. Initially, we dig through our vaults to immerse ourselves in the music, listening again (and again) to the unveiling of Days Between in Oakland in 1993, marveling at the perfect marriage of form and content, the four stanzas (the four seasons) in sonnet form, the exquisite simplicity of the melody, and of course the way that “the singer at his song” teases every ounce of feeling from Hunter’s lyrics, making them both profoundly personal and universal.
But then, one tries to find some form of displacement activity to distract us from those poignant memories of a time “when all we ever wanted / was to learn and love and grow”.
This time round, the latter need has been more than satisfied by my two great sporting loves – cricket and baseball.
At Edgbaston, India and England proved me wrong in predicting the death of the (scheduled) five-day game, providing us with a test match (England’s 1000th) which both sides could have won and which was in doubt until the last wicket fell. A wonderful game. Restores one’s faith in cricket.
But the real drama was taking place at Fenway.
Just as, in England, there is a sense that the cricketing public is falling out of love with tests, so, in New England, there is a sense that the traditional rivalry between the Sox and the Yankees has lost its allure, its fascination, its obsession.
No, it hasn’t.
Reader, we swept them. In four great games. And the greatest of all was last night.
It was 5.30 in the morning UK time. We’re at the bottom of the 9th, with the Sox 4-1 down. But the Sox don’t give up and nor does the Red Sox Nation. Twenty minutes later, we have won 5-4 to go 91/2 games up on New York, 45 games above .500. And it’s not worth going to bed. Probably wouldn’t have been able to sleep anyway.
Summer flies and August dies. Meantime, while we can, we’ll make the most of it.
Today from the everysmith vaults: the last show, at Soldier Field, Chicago and, in particular, So Many Roads.