Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"I watch the ripples change their size but never leave the stream of impermanence"

This evening I was sitting with my 12 year-old son and listening to some music I had downloaded. The music was "my" music. If you're wondering what I mean by that check this out. Anyway, one song that, upon listening to it, put me back in a time and place not so long ago. The song is David Bowie's Changes, the place is Iraq about 35 North/Northwest of Baghdad, the time just before Thanksgiving 2005. I was driving at night and, ignoring tactical protocol, we were listening to the radio. The two other two passengers are long-time professional colleagues. I have known both of these men for many years, since we were young men. We're all roughly the same age (early forties) with me being the youngest at barely 40. Well, there we are driving and listening to the radio, when a version of Changes comes on the radio, but not David Bowie. It was some new band covering this great song. When one of my colleagues, normally a very mellow, quiet, and reserved guy just loses it and goes off on a tirade about what a horrible (to put it kindly) cover it was and how dare they f - - - the song up with this cover, etc. , etc. The other two of us remained silent. Sometime toward the end of the the tirade I reached over and turned the radio off and we resumed driving to our duties that dark evening.

Recalling this doesn't strike me as funny, or humorous. It strikes me as human and reaching for what we know when facing the unknown. Keeping in mind the lyrics "Pretty soon now, you're gonna get older/Time may change me, but I can't trace time", which we all knew by heart, it was a recognition that the three of us are older and, yet, we were still off fighting far from home, which we have doing since we were young men. This was made more poignant by the fact all of us now have homes and families. We did not when we first met. A few days later we located a digital copy of David Bowie singing the song and played it over-and-over.
Anyway . . .

Changes
Still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild, a million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet


So I turned myself to face me
But I'd have never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test


Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me, but I can't trace time


I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream of warm impermanence and
So the days flow through my eyes
But still the days seem the same

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Where's your shame, you've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me, but you can't trace time

Strange fascination fascinating me
Ah, changes are taking the pace I'm going through


Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Oh, look out, you rock and rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now, you're gonna get older
Time may change me, but I can't trace time
I said that time may change me, but I can't trace time

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