Friday, May 20, 2011

The History of Audubon Park, Part Ten

"Green Refuge" is the first real Audubon Park song as it is the first song that was written after the band got together and I had an idea of what we could do and how we would sound. I wrote it crouched on the floor of the townhouse that Jennifer and I lived in after Lindsay Street.

The two verses of the song are divided between the body and the spirit. In verse one you have a green refuge (a wildlife refuge near where I grew up), teeth willing to eat, reedy fields and ticks on a body--all elements of a fleshy, earthy world. As a contrast, in verse two, you have a dormitory of ghosts learning to haunt and a palm print on a window. The line "Let's sing together in the shower" may sound sexy and of the body, but comes from a story that our friend Kara told us about something that happened when she was in art school in Georgia. The dorm she lived in was haunted (of course). Each door had its own bathroom and one afternoon, one of her friends was in hers taking a shower. She heard the girl next door singing in her shower. Afterward, the first girl complimented the second on her singing but the second girl said, "I wasn't singing. I thought it was you." This was during a time when there was no one else in the dorm. Conclusive proof of life after death? No, of course, there is no such thing, but that is what I'm talking about with the shower stuff. I am allowed to sing in a non-fiction mode from time to time.

The line about "living bales" refers to a time when we were in college and Jennifer and I went to the wildlife refuge with a class. Our teacher, on the drive back told us that haybales are alive and moving very slowly if you just are patient enough to watch.

And then the outro of the song: "The comfort of machines offers no peace of mind. With their whirring and their clicking, they are sadder than I as they stare blankly and hope to find a kind loving God to paint them a sign, saying, 'This way, this way, come with me tonight.' But in the pile of calculations on the floor we miss the light." The point of all of this being that the pursuit of happiness through purely physical, spiritual or intellectual channels is fraught and ultimately unsuccessful, but that there is something meaningful in that which we assume has no meaning and value, if we are able to be patient to see it.

Or maybe those are just the words that came out when I was making stuff up off the top of my head and I was impressed with the internal rhyme.

Band practice usually would follow this pattern: Saturday morning, everyone meets at the Weathervane for brunch. Ben only drinks coffee, Robert eats waffles, Finn has yogurt, Matt eats shrimp and grits and I have a breakfast burrito. We talk too loudly, sitting on the patio, watching early risers filter into the mall. For some reason, we spend the whole morning talking about Linc. He's just always doing interesting things. Finally, forty minutes after we were supposed to start practice, we pay our bill and drive down to the Big House and load our gear in the backdoor into the bedroom that was once Linc's. Maybe that is why we talk about him so much. He is our spirit animal. After we set up, we aimlessly jam for an hour, trying to see who can play the most ridiculously awesome sound. Robert usually wins. Then Matt says, "Shouldn't we practice. We have a show tonight and haven't played together in months." At this point Finn is thinking about Thai food. I don't know why or how I know this, but he just is. So we practice and the songs some out perfectly and all of our cheeks flush with pride. Later that night, at the show, we will screw them all up, but at that moment, in the Big House, we get them all right. After a few old songs, we try a new song, play it twice and then decided to play it at the show. Finally, after a good thirty minutes of hard work, we take a break to watch "The Country Bears." We slouch on the couches in the living room and Robert produces some cookie dough from somewhere. We open the windows and enjoy the spring air which is better than the enclosed air of the practice room as I haven't bathed in a few days and sort of ripe. Ben takes pictures of us with gummi candy our faces and we laugh and laugh and laugh.

And thus, "Green Refuge" is proved.

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