All photos(c) Rob Lindsay http://www.roblindsaypictures.com
It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where? Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Nigel Tufnel, from Spinal Tap; the Movie (It’s a satire on rock bands that everyone should see so rent it right now.)
This year goes to eleven and I don’t know if we need that ‘extra push over the cliff’ but here we go. It’s the year two thousand and eleven. Eleven is the peace sign. And on New Year’s Eve, last night, eleven was also a gang sign and someone giving us the finger on both hands. You never know how things will go.
There’s been conjecture about the end of the world approaching and there’s been speculation that the end is figurative and heralds a crossroads where some will go left and some will go right and the opportunity for change is plentiful. We don’t know how things will go but how it goes is up to us. Then the only worrisome thing may be; who are we? Or who are you?
My husband Rob had an assignment from the local paper to shoot the midnight scene in downtown Nashville. I’m not wild about crowds but I went along and held high our big black umbrella to protect the camera and some grateful folks around me. The countdown to midnight began and a glowing guitar mounted on a post at the waterfront marked the 10 second drop amidst an explosion of fireworks. It was a strangely warm day hidden in the depths of a bitter winter. The soft rain sweet with the scent of distant Spring was like a secret pocket of possibilities. Midnight came as the rain fell harder and the wind began to blow with a vengeance. Tornadoes were edging their way from the West. No one minded. Love was in the air and peace reigned in the streets congested with people as disparate as they could be; on the surface, anyway.
Phil Vassar’s band played us into 2011 as the people cheered and kissed and wished each other well. He urged the crowd to join in as the band played “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. I thought it was kind of a strange choice because it’s a pretty depressing song but the crowd sang like it was “Auld Lang Syne”. I guess …”Son can you play me a memory” might sort of be like “Should auld acquaintance be forgot….” But, whatever, it didn’t matter to the revelers because they were celebrating renewal and love and I think some were just caught up in a worldwide sanctioned merriment which was enough. I think the intention of the night could have imbued any popular song as celebratory. The thing was that most people knew it and so they could sing it together and even if they didn’t like the song and would never sing it, it was likely that it had been heard and that made you part of the group.
People from different towns, different ages, economic groups, and people of different backgrounds and beliefs of all kinds greeted strangers with Happy New Year and “y’all be careful” as the weather encroached. Folks who might not have taken kindly to a strange photographer shooting their pictures smiled and posed and some silently acquiesced that though in another time and place this would not be cool, tonight they would join the party.
We’re at a crossroads. It’s an exciting time to be alive. The future is on us. I saw evidence of an “us” despite our differences this New Year’s Eve in Nashville. We appear to have extreme differences but to love and be loved is certainly not far from the surface of most of us. If love is the opposite of fear, where fear versus love, I think I saw a glimpse into the future that love is the winner.
This one goes to eleven. It’s the peace sign. It’s a cliffhanger. But I’m thinking of you as my friend and a fellow traveler and I’m not worried at all.