When I found out that Glenn Frey had died, I was surprised by how much I grieved for a bucket list item I did not even know I had.
Seeing The Eagles live.
Ever since Hotel California hit my heart when I was 13 years old, I made a quiet little spot in there for most of The Eagles' songs. I did not understand the lyrics, and yet I got the Essences. I got the mystery, the open road, the love, the wildness. I would first sit for hours with a pen, paper and a dictionary and try to figure out the words so that I could sing along. When that took too long, I just went the phonetic route and for anyone who did not know English, I think I sounded as though I knew what I was singing. I did not.
They accompanied my teens, my twenties and beyond. They added layers to road trips, long walks, showers and the fabric of my life. Eventually, I understood the words and had to work hard at forgetting the phonetic gibberish.
And then, it was as though it was all gone. Never would I stand in a room with them and hear them sing live.
I was wrong.
When I learned that The Eagles were touring, very little was going to keep me away from being there, and nothing was going to stand in the way of me taking it all in fully.
Last night, it happened.
Great seats, the opening band did not go on forever and pretty soon, there they were.
When the first notes of the first song wafted up, I became so still I could barely feel my breathing. My eyes transfixed on Glenn Frey's 25-year old son Deacon, I was filled to the rim with a powerful cocktail of elation, emotion, and gratitude.
The show went on.
Song after song, short story after short story. For me, there was a constant awareness of generational holiness. The aging artists with their bodies not as easy to maneuver as they used to be, still letting their gifts make their way out of them and into the audience. These men who had gone through much together, who were missing one of their brothers (a haunting, huge black and white photo of a softly smiling Frey appeared mid way through the concert and beamed over the stage) and always, almost mostly, this beautiful young man, singing his dad's song surrounded by his honorary uncles, with his eyes closed as though each song was a prayer for healing.
My tears fell, my feet moved, I laughed and I left as though something in me was just ... complete.
Then on my way home - the concert was in Vancouver, Canada - I showed my passport to the border officer who welcomed me back to the US. Which reminded me of my huge privilege of being able to cross borders so easily. But that's another story, another compartment.
I am grateful.
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I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.