Here's a picture taken this afternoon on the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis in the midst of this 60+ degree day. Paavo and I certainly enjoyed the fresh air and the lovely weather, and Svea took the picture...well, actually she napped as the camera did the work on auto-pilot. This is precisely the atmospheric situation I've been waiting for these past few months: warm afternoons so I can get me and the kiddos out of the house and out into the natural world. This bridge is my favorite place downtown...the views are spectacular, everybody around is smiling, happy, friendly, and active, and it's humbling to stand above the roaring of the Mississippi River. To think what this river means to my town, my country, my planet...it's quite staggering. The music alone...from Paul Westerberg throwing the master tapes of The Replacements in the water here in the Twin Cities, to Chuck Berry in St. Louis, Elvis and Johnny Cash in Memphis, and finally New Orleans. And me, I proposed to Dawn along this river on November 8, 1991, downstream in Davenport, IA, and after she said "yes" and accepted my ring, I threw the empty jewelry box into the Mississippi. I wonder where that snap-shut little felt box is these days? Maybe deep in the riverbed below the mud, or maybe downstream in Memphis, or maybe somebody found it floating and wondered about its origins. Hmm...
Living in Minnesota is good for my soul. I need proximity to water. After growing up mere miles from Lake Superior, and spending all my youth on the shores of various lakes, it's a necessary part of my preferred environment. A couple times in the past weeks I've loaded up the stroller and taken Paavo and Svea for a push around Lake Harriet here in Minneapolis. Having two lovely lakes to hike around, now only minutes from our new house, is a major quality-of-life factor that I treasure. Now that the snow is melting and the temps are rising, I look forward to spending a lot of my daytimes around the lakes with my kids. In less than three months, Paavo and I will be able to resume our swimming at Lake Harriet South Beach...I can't wait for the day!
Since Springtime is starting to finally show its face, I've been humming "everywhere you go, always take the weather with you." These lyrics are from a brilliant song by one of my all-time favorite bands, Crowded House. They broke up a decade ago, and have recently announced a reunion. Tonight I finished watching "Farewell to the World," a double-disc concert/documentary DVD by Crowded House, that is probably the finest concert video I've ever seen. Filmed 10-years ago at their farewell performance, the DVD features 2 hours of excellent concert footage, some of the finest and most advanced pop/rock songwriting of all time, inspired musicianship, and the pure joy of music, plus personal reflections by the band members in various interviews. A DVD to watch for anybody who plays in a rock band, or seeks inspiration for songwriting. When I was learning to play guitar as a high schooler one of the first songs I would play and sing was "Something So Strong" by Crowded House. Then in Chicago when I played keyboards in Beki Hemingway's band we'd frequently cover the Crowded House hit "Don't Dream It's Over" and I got to play the glorious organ solo that Mitchell Froom played on the original album. (Legend has it that the band Sixpence None The Richer once heard Beki perform "Don't Dream It's Over" and told her "hey, that's a great cover song!" A few years later Sixpence showed up on the pop charts with a Top 10 Hit cover version of, you guessed it, "Don't Dream It's Over." Coincidence?) I even released my own cover of a Crowded House song, "It's Only Natural," sung in a duet with Beki on my own live album Field Recordings. Thanks to Neil Finn and company for so much wonderful music, and I'll be thrilled to hear what their comeback album will sound like!
So, good music and good weather collaborate to cheer me up after a dreary winter. My lovely wife Dawn is doing a fine job of cheering me up as well...she's orchestrating our collective Spring de-tox, and she's got us measuring out our food portions, and trying a whole range of new-to-us menu options. We had tasty fish last night, and shrimp for dinner this evening. And tonight my evening snack was 16 chocolate chips, counted out into a tiny cup. It sounds lame written down, but it's kinda fun. And my innards will thank me. I was to the point where if you took a scalpel and cut into my leg, you might find half-eaten cheeseburgers jamming my arteries. We're turning the physical ship around, and I've now got 2 cups of mixed greens scraping through my system and cleaning out the pipes. Bring it on, Nurse Dawn!