"You fly all night to sleep on stone..."

October 13th, 2013, 9am

It looks a bit like Guatemala but the license plate gives away the real location.

I love Harry’s little Nissan Bolero. I love his house and his neighborhood and the izakaya two doors down where they keep a bottle of awamori with his name on it (alongside bottles for all the other regulars).

This photo came after flying IAD-LAX-NRT-OKA, on the first morning of a four-night stay. Crazy, yes, but I love the trans-Pacific flight and if I stay awake the whole trip (with the help of a 2-hour nap over the Bering Strait) I land at dinnertime and go to bed at normal bedtime, no jet lag.

That first night’s sleep bears close resemblance to coma, and on morning number one I took my coffee out onto the front step to smell the ocean air.

Oh little car.

Oh blue sky.

I’d give most anything to quit my DC job and move here full time, even just for six or twelve months, but I’m scared. Only a fool would give up a Federal gig, right? Plus, the glory days of finding government work are long gone, so what happens then?

Bill Callahan’s song “Too Many Birds” could easily have been written in Okinawa or mainland Japan. He describes a proliferation of blackbirds crowding a single tree to capacity.

The song receives terrific consideration from NPR’s Ben Westhoff:

Ostensibly about identity, the track opens with a soft acoustic-guitar strum and the story of a blackbird “without a place to land / without a place to be.” Finding its desired resting tree to be full of other birds, the avian narrator searches in vain for the last place it slept, flying through the night but finding only “stone.”

Japan is not a tree without space for me.

The beds in Harry’s home are nothing like stone.

But I’d flown all night and the seeming impossibility of my wishes felt like cold unpolished rock.

One last black bird without a place to land
One last black bird without a place to be
Turns around in hopes to find the place it last knew rest.
Oh black bird, over black rain burn
This is not where you last knew rest.
You fly all night to sleep on stone.
The heartless rest that in the morn will be gone.
You fly all night to sleep on stone, to return to the tree with too many birds…

Harry tells me I have too many plates spinning.

I think I have too many birds.

Chris, Cassie, Stephen, Josef and 1 more said thanks.

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John Pull

builder, mentor, maker, traveler

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