I have recently started a new ritual where I begin my Sunday mornings off listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Before I look at my cell phone or flip open my laptop. As the kettle is cooking water for my tea–I turn on the album. I find that the album listened to from end to end to be a soothing end (or start) to my week. While listening to the album has end to end experience provided to me by the band, it is also my personal experience with the album over the years that soothe me the most.
While I was first introduced to the album sometime in the early 1980s, it was in 1983 when I first experience it. My mom and step-dad had divorced and I went to live with him in Santa Barbara for the summer, and I found myself sitting in his truck watching the sunset, listening to Dark Side of the Moon. One afternoon we drove out past Goleta, CA to where the 101 becomes isolated in the hills as it winds its way north and found an isolated parking lot looking out over the Pacific Ocean. While my step-dad smoked a joint and drank a beer, I sat and watched the sunset while listening to the Dark Side of the Moon from end to end—-it has stuck with me ever since.
I’ve had numerous drug and alcohol fueled experiences with the album since then, further laying grooves on my existence, but I find listening to the album end to end sober on a Sunday morning as very healing and nourishing some 40 years later. It isn’t any particular song, but the entire end to end experience that moves me. It just properly resets, unwinds, and leaves me in a better state than when I started. It programs me in a way that Internet technology never can, and defrags my soul un a way that allows me to face the week and recover from the last one. I can listen to Miles Davis Kind of Blue on a Friday night and heal from the week, and fire up some Jerry Garcia on a Saturday to sooth my soul, but I am finding The Dark Side of the Moon is an essential reconfiguration on a Sunday morning.
There are several things going on here. There are memories and experiences of a father I love and miss, the music of my childhood, but there is another artistically spiritual realignment as well. I miss my stepfather Ron a lot. He taught me a lot. His pain and suffering showed me how to live. All of the songs combined and in the order they are given to me also have taught me how to live, then and now. I didn’t realize how much they were programming me back in the day, and it is hard to quantify how much they help me deprogram the state I find myself as I wake up each Sunday morning today. While they don’t entirely put me back together brand new again, they do tune me up in way that I need desperately in this moment of my life.