“Now those days are gone, slowly”

“Curbisde” by Damien Jurado

“Now those days are gone, slowly.”

I’ve listened to “Curbside” by Damien Jurado on repeat now, I think, as soon as I took the job in New York. Last.fm records my listening and so far I have listened to it 139 times. A month and a half on repeat and that line gets me, every time: “Now those days are gone, slowly.”

The sparse acoustics, with Jurado’s melancholy tinged vocals create such a sense of longing, of regret…. Well not quite regret…  but of wistfulness.

He sings about a girl and the innocence of a childhood crush and days now slowly gone passed. He’s also thinking of what his life might be if he had still been with her, yet she is with another. That future branch, a possible life now existing only in one’s imagination fully and permanently. Saying yes to one thing is really saying no to many things.

To decide comes from the Latin word decidere which means literally to “off-cut.” To decide then means to cut off all other alternatives. The action and emphasis is placed on the negative rather than the positive, that is, one takes actions to remove paths rather than take actions to follow. Certainly an interesting take on how individuals make decisions today, with the implications that courses of actions are not singled out and chosen, but rather all other options are removed, and the last remaining is the decision. All of this to say that the term “decide” gives space for recognizing all the paths not taken. In times of big decisions, such a facet of life can be crucially ignored.

“Now those days are gone, slowly.”

He’s certainly reminiscing, but the hint of a melancholy about future days that are gone and slipping away cannot be avoided either. Maybe this wistfulness is always both backward and forward reaching. Maybe that’s why it resonates with me so much.

He is wistful in regards to the past, but he is also wistful in regards to paths not taken, and the locations they would have led to. The classic “what-ifs” we all know too well.

“Those days” – longing for future days or past days?

Why not both?

As I go to New York I am haunted and enlivened by “those days,” to remember the days gone by, all 28 years of them, the days that will no longer exist because of my decision to leave, but also the days that are even now springing into existence. It is a strange feeling, and I have not really been processing it due to the hustle of having to sort through all my crap. Perhaps only by listening to “Curbside” on repeat have I been able to air that feeling out. Funny enough, “Curbside” is on an album entitled Rehearsals for Departure.

“Now those days are gone, slowly.”

Those days are gone, but new days are beginning, and life rolls on, churning forth from sunrise to sunset, birthday to funeral, beginning to end. When I think of these things, when I feel these things, I am startled by this life and what has been given to me, and I do not want to waste it. I am so thankful for my 28 years in Oklahoma, and my family whose stories and words and time spent together still “amaze me,” like the song suggests. I am sad at “those days” that have now changed, but I am also unbelievably excited for the future. These are strange feelings indeed, and I am grateful Jurado wrote a song to hold that feeling for me as I make this massive transition.

“Now those days are gone… slowly.”

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