There are so many ways to Chase, must be a million things to dream of.
I long for ways to keep the faith, while drinkin' coffee from a tin cup.
Some seek the lights - they want the fame - Wanna see the neon writin' out their names
The things I need, I just can't find,
Like that smile on my momma's face, while a tear stands in her eye.
The sweetest thing I'd known was her face, but I gave it up
For the Chase...
Some keep a'drivin' that same road, as if there was no where to turn off
Speeding through meadows full of grace, missin' the point - Their purpose got lost.
The road is long, but time's too dear - Can't afford confusion mixin' love and fear.
The things we need, we just can't find,
Like that smile upon your face - between a whisper and a sigh.
The sweetest thing I'd know was your face, but I lost it
To the Chase...
Scrap of paper in his hand, a bum is writing out his memoires.
Some scoff - they just don't understand the choices made, the prices paid for.
The things he's seen! Oh, the dreams fulfilled!
What's the difference between bottles? One's got wine, one pills.
The vision I seek, I just can't buy
Like that peaceful smile on the old man's face as he said his last goodbye.
The sweetest thing I've know is his face
Movin' on to another Chase...
I seldom explain my songs. I'm not certain which is the more compelling reason to do so now, whether it's to share my perspective with the world, or because I'm hoping to better understand my own self by putting this to words. In either case, this is how The Chase came to be:
This song was written during a 3 month stint in Florida circa Spring, 1995. The last couple of years I'd been up in Chicago. That previous summer (the year the Mississippi flooded,) I'd lost Baraka, my 27' Newport, to a drunk tugboat pilot, a greedy ex state senator who owned the tug, and an inscrupulous Boat U.S. and their "Declared Value" insurance policy. That vessel was to have been my means of cruising the Caribbean, but instead I ended up taking a job subcontracted to the Federal government handling their computer problems. One day in February, while standing on the El platform in Chicago in 20-below-zero weather, the caustic wind literally freezing my skin, I decided that living this far north was absolutely insane. I saw how people endured the harsh winters, then revelled in the spring, enjoyed the summer, and all too soon were caught by the fall and impending winter, so battened down the hatches and hibernated until the next spring... repeat until life ends... Too stubborn and driven to accept such a fate, feeling entirely ripped off by Life after the loss of the boat, I decided I'd beat Fate at its own game. I rode that train to Downtown, stopped in at a travel agent and told 'em to book me at whatever destination other than California they had which would be warm and affordable. Florida came up, so it was there that I headed.
But Florida proved far different than I'd imagined, and I spent most of my time flying Einstein (a Harris' Hawk) and trying to keep the termites out of my Martin HD-35. They have roaches down there so big ya don't dare do any more than accept a communal existence, for fear that you'll wake up one morning to find they've picked up your bed as you sleep and evicted you. But I digress... Somewhere in that Southern haze, with the Spanish Moss dripping off the trees, the lazy, laid-back rural Floridian ways slowly growing on me, I ended up listening to Garth Brooks' album "The Chase." He has no song by that title, and I was thinking about what he'd meant in naming the collection of songs. This lead to meanderings about what The Chase might refer to, which led to contemplation on how we all Chase after things, with varying degrees of success. I came to see all of life as a series of Chases, that we all spend each chapter of our lives in pursuit of the thing we think will make us happy at the time. For most, this Chase is pretty consistent; house, car, lifelong love... For me, it's been an ongoing series of things, from the music business, to a lifelong love. Each time, I left all that was dear to me behind to move to on that next pursuit. When I left my lover of nearly 6 years, it was to go to me, rather than away from our relationship, as I felt that relation was keeping me from the pursuit of aviation, falconry, sailing, music, and a long list of things I've come to know and experience since that parting. Some of this was probably true. I'd certainly not have been so driven while basking in the state of perpetual Bliss one feels in a healthy relationship. In another way, though, I simply hadn't yet realized that I'd always been free to engage those things. I'd felt trapped in the relationship, felt I had to make a choice between the union and my own wanderlust, the insatiable thirst for knowledge and experiences. In leaving that love, the Muse showed me, I may very well have destined myself to eventually becoming the bum in the third verse of this song. As I wrote it, I reasoned that the price would be far more sweet than bitter with a lifetime full of rich memories and experiences, that I'd rather be sipping a bottle of cheap wine while looking back on 60 years of real living than sitting in some old-folks' home with another form of medicine, looking back on wasted years of my life.
The Chase is both melancholy and full of promise. It speaks to me even today, talks of how each of us makes our own destiny, encourages me to pursue my dreams, and reassures me that I'm not all that different from everyone else. I'm just after a different Chase. I sincerely hope the song inspires you, speaks to you as it does to me, and that whatever meaning you glean from it, you'll follow your heart, put spirit in motion, and that when you reach your Golden Years, you'll have a scrapbook full of rich and rewarding memories to look back on before moving on to another Chase.
P.S. Thanks to Debbie for letting me use her photo, "Monument," for this page. Click here to see more of her work.
©1999 John A. Yezeguielian - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED