Saturday, January 17

In the afternoon, we drove to a part of Lincoln I've never been in. One of those little urban bubble regions caught somewhere between modern stripmall decay and old-school town center. We found a used book & record store, an acoustic instrument place, a dusty, dim-lit luthier's shop. After the stores, we sat and drank coffee and talked about Led Zeppelin while the streets outside slid into wet and murk.

At the luthier's, there was a stack of newsletters from the Walnut Valley Association, the people who put on the festival at Winfield, KS every year - bluegrass and kindred musics, campgrounds and countless jam sessions. Later that evening I was going through a stack of Levi's pictures and there was one I snapped in the near-dark at Winfield on Saturday night while other people made music. Part of a moment I figured was lost to everything but my memory, outlined in the flash. I wonder about the dangers of obsession with record-making - all of those parents with camcorders, washed out altar-level footage of weddings, history built of bad photo ops - but I have to see the value in a picture like that.

Even important stuff you forget, because forgetting is in the nature of things, and then you look and it comes back - not the way it is in the photograph, because cameras lie as sure as anything else most of the time, but something like the way you saw it and if you're lucky you saw it for what it was. It's not that the picture makes it any more real, only that it can help you hold the reality again for a little bit.

Every time I walk in the door of a guitar shop I feel that strange tension between wanting to take those beautiful objects down off the wall and make noise, and the certainty that I would only make a fool of myself.

Strange, I'm not too much afflicted by that fear here, justified as I would likely be.