Sunday, July 22, 2007

When I Go (Dave Carter)

Dave Carter: August 13, 1952 - July 19, 2002

K and I got together today for our annual Dave Carter labyrinth walk/remembrance/seize-the-day ritual - we meet halfway (meaning we each drive about 30 minutes) to a lovely retreat center. The labyrinth is in the back of the property, fairly isolated, and our tradition is to sit on the benches for an hour or so, catching up on each other's lives - we then walk the path, mindfully, me giving her a 5-minute headstart so as not to crowd. It always seems to take me the entire journey toward the center to clear my mind, as there's just so much swirling and competing for attention. The return walk finds me cleansed and open, tabula rasa - the storm that threatened all afternoon waited until we were finished to let loose (thanks, Dave... :-)

Our tradition is to then drive into the town of Delray Beach to find an interesting restaurant, where we drink a glass of wine, share some appetizers and chat some more - we discovered a very cool Asian bistro this time, trying their shrimp/veggies tempura and their chicken dumplings (yum!).

My story of Dave Carter begins in the fall of 1998, when I began reading articles/reviews of an up-and-coming songwriter who was winning all sorts of contests and had just released a CD, with Tracy Grammer, his "partner in all things" - I found out they would be performing at a folk music conference I was attending in February 1999 and was intrigued enough to make a point to go to their showcase (actually three of them), where I promptly fell in love with Dave's smart, layered lyrics, Tracy's violin and their combined harmonies. I wasn't able to buy the CD until six months later and continued to be enthralled - saw them again at Falcon Ridge 2000 and not too long afterwards got a call from their agent, asking if I would present them in May in my just-begun house concert series.

I drove down to Main Street Cafe, where they were playing the night before my show and met Laurie, the proprietress (more on her another time) - Dave and Tracy performed in my living room the following evening and it was a magical time I'll always remember. I saw them at Falcon Ridge a few months later and the next spring they came to West Palm Beach with Joan Baez, who had become enamored with their music, even covering one of Dave's songs - Dave was very sick that night and, when I had a chance to chat with him after the show, said he'd see me in July at Falcon Ridge, as usual. He suffered a heart attack and died a few days before the 2002 festival, a month short of his 50th birthday (see my post of a few days ago) - a reliable member of the folk community posted the news, at Tracy's request, to their online discussion group that Friday afternoon... and it was difficult to believe but impossible to ignore...

My husband was out of town that weekend and I wept for hours, inconsolable - a dear friend (also a fan of their music) called and "talked me off the ledge", keeping me company on the phone for more than three hours, as we both tried to process the idea of a world without Dave Carter. The folk community was devastated - amazingly, Tracy insisted on going to Falcon Ridge, where a beautiful tribute was arranged (when their mainstage set was supposed to have taken place), with many folk artists covering their songs. Tracy said she couldn't imagine being anywhere else except in a place where they were so loved and she knew she'd feel strength and support - the entire weekend was surreal...

My post the day after Dave's death barely scratches the surface of everything he meant to me and others - he was dear, he was special and he is so much missed, even five years later...


Take my hand.

We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

What if you knew you'd be the last
to touch someone?

If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line's crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn't signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won't say Thank you, I don't remember
they're going to die.

A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
They'd just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon's spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

QUOTE: "Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life." ~ John Muir

No comments:

Post a Comment