Conquered in a car seat. Not a thing that I can do.

Parked in the backyard, the unkempt landscape claimed the Delta 88 as its own thing, throwing tendrils of yellow and white flowers over the mammoth windshield, obscuring the view inside and out.

That was the summer where the wheels seemed to be coming off the cart in my group of friends: it was all serious girlfriends or pre-college prep or alcoholism…it was the summer I chose to step away from that ole’ gang o’mine.

An awful and humid summer, a lot of rain that year, endless steamy nights; I spent many of them alone in that derelict car.  I was in that period that is such the symptom of being 19: Grand questions without answers.  Was the world as small as it seemed? Were dreams worth staking your life on? (FYI, jury still out on that one…).  I pondered this much those nights, and the Delta kept me hidden and safe from harm.

I was lost.  Listening to Van Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks’ a lot, staring out the only visible bit of window. I watched the drivers’ side mirror like gazing out of a submarine: the street light hit the steaming road, a burnt orange color.

‘And I’m conquered in a car seat…Not a thing that I can do’

Van Morrison sending me personal messages through time, through technology.  The weariness in his voice, the weight of his heavy, heavy heart, the uncomplicated, unglamorous pain he was relaying…I felt it too.  I stopped, and rewound, and listened again.

A tragic tale of an adult male in love with a 14 year old girl.  Beautifully rendered, hypnotic repeating lines, a pure and uncut dose of love and loss.  No redemption in sight and none expected. And it wasn’t the words: Its the voice. The music hangs back and lets Van relate this sorrow, with an almost embarrassing intensity. Like being part of a conversation you never, ever want to have.

And I kept rewinding it, and listening again and again. It was as close to prayer as I ever had.


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