Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.~ Albert Einstein
Keep moving. It's been that kind of week. In Boston's Chinatown this past Wednesday everything seemed to be moving. Holding balance. People crossed busy streets when traffic walk signals told them to do so. Pedestrians hummed over street vendors' bins of fresh vegetables and fruits. Chinese willows shook themselves out in the breeze. In Mary Soo Hoo Park, locals huddled and swayed around small groups of men playing Chinese chess with brightly inscribed wooden pieces. Sirens flashed and swung in the air, in transit, to and fro Tufts Medical Center.
And then there was the muted sound and movement of a pretty bicycle secured to a pole at the corner of Kneeland and Tyler, which stopped me in my hurried tracks. The gentle downward slope of the top bar of the dark frame, the woven basket, the leather saddle, and bowed fenders caught my eye. A city bike. A woman's city bike. I wondered if she, the rider, had ridden the bike to work, or if she had met a friend for dim sum, or if she was simply taking her Miniature Schnauzer, whom she had carefully tucked in her basket, for a stroll through the park. Had I seen her poking through the glossy Chinese eggplant? Was she wearing a knee-length wool skirt, cable-knit sweater and long linen scarf? Maybe she was a resident at Tufts and had come from her apartment in Fenway. In the hospital she was dressed in scrubs and listened carefully to patients.
I stayed a while by the bike, and took several photographs, feeling as if I were in a state of inertia in the center of a mob of exertion. I didn't want to leave. Yet I did want to leave. On the bike. I wanted to ride it around the whole damn city, like I'd done all those years ago on my raised-seat touring bike, racing around Beantown, through its emerald parks, or to the office downtown. On a mission. But this particular bike, the city bike, was not meant for mission. It was meant for hanging back, for diddling, for loitering, for which, I realized—simultaneously with those leisurely thoughts—I had no time.
At the Craniofacial Pain Center, Dr. Correa asked me how I slept.
Next time, we'll talk about sleep, he smiled.
And then I was off with my thrice-adjusted mouth guards, racing to my car, maneuvering the slow-lanes/fast-lanes of 93 South, open throttle toward another city where I was to pick up the kids, all the while wishing I'd done what I ordinarily do: take the commuter train.
It's a balancing act, life, though I don't feel like I ever truly keep balance. I lurch to the left, wobble to the right, and sometimes, on a lucky occasion, center myself amply enough to see a day as less than overwhelming. It's all right. I'm happy to see the day. See it right through.
* * *
And now, ballads and jingles that I like to call, well, loiter music.
About singer/songwriter/pianist Joe Purdy, from thesixtyone:
Purdy, an independent singer/songwriter from Arkansas, put in his time working at a loading dock and as a counselor at a private high school before his song "Wash Away" became synonymous with the 2004 season of ABC's Lost. Purdy left Arkansas for California in 2001, where he learned how to play the piano and began writing songs. He went on to record several homemade albums, breaking into the L.A. music scene with 2003's StompinGrounds. It was around this time that Purdy was contacted by J.J. Abrams, the executive producer of Lost, who asked Purdy to write a song for the show. Purdy, who at the time was visiting an island on a river in upstate New York, wrote "Wash Away," which went on to chart in the Top 25 on the /iTunes country charts…In addition to his music heard on Lost, his songs have also appeared on the soundtrack of the TV series Grey's Anatomy, and the motion picture Peaceful Warrior.
And, one of my favorites from Paris In The Morning:
In total, Purdy has self-released a total of twelve CDs, the latest being This American.
All of Purdy's music can be listened to for free, on his website, available on album playlists.