In Your Eyes

It is 4:09 a.m. “Knock On Wood,” is, fittingly, on the clock radio. I wake immediately, sit straight up, throw off the covers, swing my legs off the edge of the bed, and place my bare feet squarely on the wood floor.

It is not the usual slow morning start. This is one of those mornings when I sit straight up in bed, and get my move on. It isn’t so much that it’s my 33d birthday, it’s that I have a car coming in 30 minutes, and haven’t yet packed a thing.

I unplug my laptop, shut down my broadband, and begin tossing clothes into my bag. I don’t need much: swim trunks, flip flops, a linen sportcoat, my guitar.

The car is waiting. We stop for coffee. I hear crickets. Kids are walking out of the clubs. There are just a few cabs sprinting down 57th Street. Soon we are on the BQE, windows down. The wind is cool and strong. It is all I hear. I close my eyes, feeling strangely drunk, out of body, and wonder what I’ve done with my 32d year…

My heart was broken this year. Pretty unexpectedly. And pretty badly. Kind of an on/off switch kinda’ thing. One minute it was good — I actually told my father on Christmas Eve, “Mark my words, I’m going to marry this one” — and the next, she was gone. I spent more than a few deep winter nights wondering what had happened. I was blindsided. I don’t know what I learned from it, but it seems in retrospect to have calloused my heart more than just a little bit.

I released my best, most cohesive record this year. I mounted my most ambitious tour. I managed my largest team of employees, and my most ambitious series of projects (Movies, The VMAs in Miami). I got out of the house more and pointed myself into more new and strange situations than ever (“Baby’s always attracted to the things she’s afraid of”). I learned home recording. I ran my fourth NYC Marathon, rode my bike across Iowa, and competed in more triathlons than ever. And I began a path towards my most courageous solo adventure to date: scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.

Every year begins and ends in Nantucket. We stay in a modest cottage on Smith’s Point way out on the northwest corner of the island. The dunes are high, the sea grass is tall. We are nearly alone. A crescent-shaped bay is just out my bedroom window. I can hear the waves just across the unpaved street. It is a quiet retreat. It is a pensive place. It is almost a holy place, just next door to Mr. Rogers’ Crooked House. I am bound to settle in, to get a little bit closer to who I am supposed to be. To whomever it is that I’m becoming. To whomever it is that I am.

I am on my way there. I am always almost there…

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