It is Easter again. Another resurrection of the moveable feast.
And Emma likes Clapton.
Emma is my niece. She will soon be 14. Eric Clapton turned 68 yesterday. He is one of the world's greatest guitarists.
I saw Eric Clapton play "live" at some point during the 1970s. Went to the concert with a fellow who I remember was crazy about me, but at that point in my life, I had decided to remain clueless about anyone's ardor. When Clapton came on stage to play, the world fell away. We all know about flow, about losing yourself in your work, so much so that nothing else exists. Motorcyclists talk about the Zen of being one with the machine. When Clapton straps on a guitar, he is just who he is supposed to be.
At 11, I learned to play the guitar. It was spring, and I had inherited a red-and-black acoustic from my brother Kev, who received the instrument for Christmas, but held no interest in playing. I took a group class at the nearest YMCA. The first evening my teacher wore a rodeo dress with a big puffy skirt. She played a Hank Williams song, and hooted and yodeled and sang and danced around. It was then and there that I knew that that was what I wanted to do.
To learn how to become a song.
And Emma loves music. Not the latest popular sounds, but artists like the Beatles and Clapton. At 14, I wanted to go to Woodstock, a fact that caused my mother Dottie M. to believe I must be a drug addict. Music was the most important thing to me. I fell asleep each night with a square transistor radio in a brown leather case hidden under my pillow, tuned to the nearest rock station, a scratchy broadcast at best. But I learned what I thought sounded good and what was incredibly bad.
And Emma continues to teach me. I was there the moment she was born. As I have no children, she taught me what it is like to come into the world. I was kneeling behind her mother on the birthing bed. My sister leaned back against me, and gave a final push. There was Emma, eyes wide open, aware, with long Mohawk hair. She looked left, then right, pulled one shoulder out, then the other. Her mother simply reached down and pulled Emma up to her chest, doing what she was supposed to do. And I wept.
And Emma is an artist. She sent me an illustration of Eric Clapton she drew recently.
She has "the eye". Always has.
She sees the purple tinge in a Black Lab's coat, and knows how some pictures also need a story.
I can see her sitting at the dining room table, many layers down in her work. Lost to the world and anything else that is out there.