With my favorite talking head (some call him my Radio Husband) on vacation this week and his morning show in best-of, my hell-on-wheels commute has been spent with the likes of Dar and Melissa, Kasey and Carly next to me in the passenger seat.
And Mary. Oh yes indeed, there is definitely something about Mary this week.
Maybe it's my reflective, end-of-summer-beginning-of-a-new-school-year mood that is coinciding with a swift lane change of weather this week. Regardless, it's been an easy ride on the Blue Route this week (I've jinxed myself for the purpose of a blog post, I know) that lends itself to rolling down the windows and hearing the stones in the road while taking the long way home.
I'm pressing play and repeatedly hitting repeat on "The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter" this week, a CD I'd forgotten about and recently borrowed from the library.
It's a great collection of songs. I laugh every time at "I Feel Lucky" and tear up every time to "Passionate Kisses." (The latter has sentimental value. It was playing the morning of my wedding as I got ready and I danced, danced, danced around the living room. Is it too much to demand, I want a full house and a rock and roll band, pens that won't run out of ink, and cool quiet and time to think. Shouldn't I have this? Shouldn't I have this? Shouldn't I have all of this, and passionate kisses ....)
Some of these essential songs are new discoveries for me, like "Late for Your Life."
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every day that ends up wrong
Another one's right
Call it chance or call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
Still the question begs, why would you wait?
And be late for your life
"Almost Home" is a literal soundtrack to my life, as I go through bags and boxes of possessions inherited from my grandparents. It's also perfect for a blog post I'll be scheduling next week for the blog I write at work. (Yes, I'm a lucky girl ... some days I really do get paid for this kind of stuff.)
I saw my life this morning, lying at the bottom of a drawer
All this stuff I'm saving, God knows what this junk is for
And whatever I believed in, this is all I have to show
What the hell were all reasons for holding on for such dear life
Here's where I let go
I'm not running, I'm not hiding, I'm not reaching
I'm just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in
And I'm almost home.
I saw you this morning, you were looking straight at me
From an ancient photograph stuck between letters and some keys
I was lost just for a moment in the ache of old goodbyes
Sometimes all that we can know is
Theres no such thing as no regrets
But the first two tracks are the ones I keep turning to, keep pressing repeat on. I can't help it - you know when you can't get enough of a song? When you don't mind it being stuck in your head all day? That's what "Stones in the Road" and "The Long Way Home" have been this week for me. Give a listen.
When we were young, we pledged allegiance every morning of our lives
The classroom rang with children's voices under teacher's watchful eye
We learned about the world around us at our desks and at dinnertime
Reminded of the starving children, we cleaned our plates with guilty minds
And the stones in the road shone like diamonds in the dust
And then a voice called to us to make our way back home ...
...And now we drink our coffee on the run, we climb that ladder rung by rung
We are the daughters and the sons, and here's the line thats missing
The starving children have been replaced by souls out on the street
We give a dollar when we pass, and hope our eyes don't meet
We pencil in, we cancel out, we crave the corner suite
We kiss your ass, we make you hold, we doctor the receipt
And the stones in the road fly out from beneath our wheels
Another day, another deal, before we get back home
And the stones in the road leave a mark from whence they came
A thousand points of light or shame, baby, I don't know.
And then this from "The Long Way Home."
Now he's got a picture in his head of the perfect wife,
Their perfect children, their perfect life
Nothing wrong with that, coming home each night to his cul-de-sac of dreams
Funny now how it all went by so fast ...
Now there's a gardener for the flowers, a cook for the meals
A maid for the laundry, an accountant for the bills
A walker for the dog and a trainer when she feels the need to lose an inch ...
Accidents and inspiration lead you to your destination ...
Or you could be the one who takes the long way home
Roll down your window, turn off your phone
See your life as a gift from the great unknown
And your task is to receive it
Tell your kid a story, hold your lover tight
Make a joyful noise, swim naked at night
Read a poem a day, call in well sometimes
And laugh when they believe it
Funny now how it all goes by so fast
One day I'm looking over my shoulder at the past
Now everybody's got to go, got to be, got to get somewhere
Baby don't forget about - you really shouldn't forget about
Baby don't forget what got you there
I think it's what got you there.
Yes, the essential Mary Chapin Carpenter. She's got me there. And this week, she's exactly what's getting me there, to everyplace I need to be.