A song has been stuck in my head for several days. There are a few reasons though I don’t quite know how it materialized in my head. Some things just aren’t better to know. I never was too aware of Led Zeppelin until college. My musical tastes back in the day ran to the standards of Classic Rock and typical 70’s stuff, but never much Zep.
I transferred to Cortland State prior to my junior year. It was very pretty there and my dorm room window overlooked the public waterworks area which was enclosed by a fence and contained deer and other animals. It’s an easy vision to summon. Right now it’s snowing, the perimeter is lighted and the animals are quiet. It’s evening after all. I’ve just finished reading a novel and I’m staring out the window and trying to summon the meaning of what I read.
It snowed a great deal in Cortland and my window held such a mesmerizing view. Prior to the holidays the public waterworks was lit with scores of clear white lights. It was like being at the North Pole. My dorm was located on a steep hill overlooking the waterworks which was across the road. In our “right minds,” we took the long way around and walked down the sidewalk to the road and back toward the waterworks. It took a while to do. It was cold out. It was snowing. Always. Snowing.
On weekends we took the express route to the waterworks, in a time-honored, if not lethal, tradition of traying. This rite of stupidity is marked by some industrious students borrowing some of the cafeteria trays. The staging area was at the top of the steep hill. A spotter was at the bottom of the hill to wave off your start in case there was a car coming. Sometimes the spotter paid attention.
It was exhilarating to whoosh down that steep hill and rocket across the road over the film of snow, left in the wake of other “trayers,” that stretched toward the waterworks. Though it was an extremely foolish thing to do, one does feel invincible in one’s youth. I can still feel the cold air battering against my face as I plummeted down, praying a car wasn’t coming. Then there was the joy of arriving in the waterworks to join other evening revelers.
This memory has an underlying Zeppelin theme as there was a kid on my dorm who idolized the musicians in the band. On these evenings he was often one of the purveyors of trays and would belt out Zep tunes to inspire our trips down the hill. He joyously sang “Ramble On” as his sneakered foot shoved the tray into the moonlight.
“Ramble On” means other things to me. I’m not musical though I enjoy listening to music. For me, songs are mostly about the words. They’re poetry, really. I write poetry, mostly for my own enjoyment and because it’s the last thing I ever thought I’d do. Part of this song appeals to the lone wolf inside of me. I prefer to live my life on my terms without much regard to conventions. I will have no spawn to carry my DNA into the future. It was meant to be that way. But I will continue to experience life to the fullest and have my adventures, so…
“…For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it’s headed my way
Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do…
Ramble on, and now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song, I’m going ’round the world, I gotta find my [way]…”