Monday, July 2, 2012

Adventures in Paying Homage

Nothing to get hung about. 
I went to New York City for the first time to see Warhorse at Lincoln Center with my Critical Writing class this past April. As the bus neared the Lincoln Tunnel, my professor told us about a few nearby spots where we could venture but not get lost, one of them being Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Strawberry Fields. The State-side holy site for Beatles fans looking to pay homage to John Lennon. Nuts. It hadn't even crossed my mind to try and find it, and yet nothing seemed more important than locating that iconic tiled "Imagine" paved into the ground.

Admittedly, in the past 10 years I've spent a lot less time with the Beatles than I used to. The summer after sixth grade I listened to Abbey Road every single day, without fail. That was also the year I brought my Beatles 1 cd to the end-of-year dance– I was a "cool" kid for a day.

In the coming years I found other bands to listen to, but never had the heart to strip the Beatles of the title "All-Time Favorite Band." In some ways they're dusty relics of my childhood, like an old teddy bear or too-small bike. And maybe it was for that reason, that nostalgia, that I recruited a couple friends and we snaked our way to Central Park as soon as we got off the bus.

It was right behind the stone wall. I knew it. But in true tourist fashion, we had to bum directions off a street vendor. Yards away, we found a mob of people that didn't thin out for a second in the 40 minutes we stopped to eat lunch on the bench and listen to the old guys playing Beatles covers on their guitars.

That's a really obvious testament to the uniting power of music, so I'm reluctant to even say it, but it was stunning. From tween girls to European travelers, all gravitated to this one place.

I still don't think about the Beatles as much anymore, but I'm inclined to believe in some kind of cosmic balance or duty. Heading over to Strawberry Fields was a non-negotiable pilgrimage, and it mile-marked a great musical relationship. Ten-year-old me geeked out and twenty-two-year-old me totally understood.

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