The Friday Morning Listen: Tom Waits – Healing The Divide (2009)

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Vacation Part 2.

Oh my, it feels so good to downshift. With no daily work regimen to get the stress train moving (beyond making sure that there’s enough coffee for the next day), the relaxation response takes over. When I wake up from my first impromptu nap at two in the afternoon, I thinking that “Maine. The Way Life Should Be.” is more than just a marketing slogan.

The packing went fairly smoothly. I like to make checklists (on paper, with little checkboxes to the left of each entry) so the only thing we missed were the dog’s (anti-itchy) pills. We were able to have his vet call in the prescription to the local pharmacy. That’s right: the pharmacy. Apparently, it’s against the law for a veterinarian to phone in a prescription to another vet across state lines. Why? I don’t know and I’m not about to squander precious vacation time on the research. Seems kinda silly if you ask me.

The last two items on our checklist were coffee (we ground up and bagged whatever was left over in the grinder’s hopper) and lilacs. Several years ago, my mom had us plant lilacs in the back yard. This year we finally got some decent blossoms so a few were clipped and loosely bagged, the stems wrapped in wet paper towels.

We drove for a few hours through suburbia before stopping for what has become a vacation tradition: the first lobster roll of the season, followed by a small dish of frozen custard (the dog seems to particularly love this custard thing).

Food desires sated, we head into the final segment of the trip which passes uneventfully. I did not count on the emotions that would come to pass. I’ve been coming to this region since my early teens. The valleys, lookout points, and other bits of geography are very familiar. I know them as well as the attached memories. And though (for a variety of reasons) we haven’t been here since 2007, it seemed like just last week that we drove over that short bridge out onto the island.

Speaking of traditions, I’ve always liked to roll down all the windows as we pass over the bridge. If the wind is favorable, you’ll be flooded with a gorgeous blast of ocean essence. This time around, all we could smell was coffee and lilacs. Oh well, I’ll take it.

This morning we’ll be listening to Healing the Divide. Depending on who you believe, the Rapture is supposed to occur tomorrow. Gee, I hope not. I mean, I haven’t even had my yearly plate of whole-belly clams yet. And we’ve got this place for another week! In these kinds of matters, I’d rather listen to the Dalai Lama. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Tom Waits and the Kronos Quartet as an accompaniment to your morning coffee.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at
Mark Saleski
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