Tripmaster Cat

So it wasn't until the Thursday before spring break before I was able to think about my plans. No real reason, just my limited time horizon of late. But something special happened Thursday: I got the email with the calendar of Nields appearances for the next few months. It struck me -- contrary to my earlier suppositions to the contrary -- that Pawling is in downstate New York, not upstate, which made their Friday concert a logistical possibility. And somehow, that unblocked everything for me.

Pawling is about an hour and a half away. The drive took me out Connecticut route 34; I had the sense it would have been quite scenic in the daylight. As it was, I didn't see all that much, with the exception of a grey cat that darted out onto the road (and then wisely darted back) a few miles before I hit 84.

I wound up, through some stroke of good fortune whose source remains a mystery to me, at the very front of the audience. I was close enough to touch Katryna. (It was just her and Nerissa at the show: two unearthly voices and an acoustic guitar with a "hate free zone" sticker.) I refrained; I would have hated to startle her. Instead, I beamed up at her with a stupid grin of insane happiness.

It was a great experience. Too much music is escapist; some music wallows in sorrow. But the Nields suck the poison out of your psychic wounds; their songs seek out the bad vibes and neutralize them. "Easy People" is a song about friendship and the frustration of impermanence, but something about those descending vocal harmonies endures forever in the heart.

And then, on the way back, I saw that same grey cat on the same stretch of road, as though it had been waiting for me all those hours.