The End of Summer

And then it’s over. With a deep sun tan, it’s back to the rest of the world. With one last show-closing final note, summer tour is over. Whether you had seen every show, or had just made it to a few, that last drumbeat sent a bittersweet internal rhythm through you that fluctuated between ecstasy and sorrow. Was it all a dream? It was just too much fun to have been real. Was it really over? Did you ever imagine that happening in your life? Am I still the person I was before?

The shows were the obvious centerpieces of your experience, providing the other-worldly memories, and soundtrack, but there was so much adventure involved. Camaraderie, spontaneity, partying, driving, laughing- and probably some drama in there too. It was so fun living with your friends, against the grain, while everyone else was sleeping, and sleeping while everyone else was living. Sure, you overlapped for some hours, but whether you reversed your schedule for a month a week, or maybe even a day or two, you always got the feeling that you were pulling one over on everyone else. You knew the Phish, tasted the magic; and few were let in on the secret. It wasn’t a bad thing, not everyone could know- it just wasn’t their path.  But you still felt like an undercover superhero!  Your mission- be inside the show when the lights go down, in one piece with a ticket, and while doing so, party, bask in life, and avoid the cops. “Keep the tires off the lines,” as Page has instructed us in song. A real-life video game- and you were living it.

Your closest friends were on your journey with you; all of you contributing to reaching your treasure each night. Whether it was driving the final early morning shift and pulling into the hotel at 9am, finding a ticket for a friend, or finding the local liquor store at 4 pm and scoring booze for after the show; everyone found a way to contribute. Well, most everyone. I’m sure we all had a friend who managed to do very little, but point being, you had your squad. And during the summer months, you felt invincible as you navigated the country under the blazing sun, from amphitheatre to amphitheatre, with a car running on dreams, childlike fascination, and lord knows what else.

But this was the last stop; there were no more tomorrow nights. This was it- the last one. Last set break. Last set. Last encore. Over. People were dispersing from here- all going back home, or wherever it was they said they were from. You weren’t gonna’ see the same few hundred faces in random states across the country any more; at least not for a while. Everything began to skew back into that other reality you knew before your expedition of self-discovery. Whether that meant school, a job, finding a job, finding a place to live, or figuring out what to do with your life; it wasn’t always the smoothest reentry. But you carried the inspiration with you, stored away in the recesses of your mind from stock-piling it five nights a week for the past month. It was enough to last at least a lifetime or two.

Yet, onward we trudged, and still we trudge, through this alternate reality- carrying what we have learned- and yearning to learn more. Navigating this obstacle course the best we can, hoping to make the right decisions, remembering back to those carefree days of driving and dancing in the heat; trying to recreate those feelings in different ways in our everyday lives. Striving for the enjoyment and fulfillment everyone deserves in life; but when we stop trying most days, and sit down on the couch to relax- what we do? Pull out one of those nights of perfection and go back to our experiences that are eternal, and shall never leave us.  We believe again.

“Nothing I see can be taken from me.” -Trey


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