At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


I've been haunted by this for the past three years.  

Three years ago, I was cycling Chicago's Lakefront Trail.  The trail loop is a fairly long ride.  Back then, it was a challenge for me to ride for over 30 miles at a stretch.  That day, I had cycled north for fifteen miles or so, and I was feeling a bit peaked.  I came to a stretch where, on my right, was a soccer field.  There was a game on, contested by young girls.  On my left was a park bench.  I wanted to stop.  I wanted to rest.  But then it came to me: the song "Aqualung".

The song may not mean much to some/most.  But it meant a lot to me.  I was a fan of the band Jethro Tull in the 70's (there was no Jethro in the band, the front man was Ian Anderson).  The band released an album in 1971 entitled "Aqualung".  The album fascinated me way back then.  The title song intrigued me most.  I found it disturbing.

The park bench across from the soccer field enticed.  But I thought it best to ride on.  Right about then, the opening lyrics of Aqualung exploded in my head:

Sitting on a park bench
 Eyeing little girls
 With bad intent

And ever since this song has bounced around inside my head.  I didn't want to be perceived as another Aqualung.  And yet, and yet, there are aspects of the song that touch and trouble me.

The lyrics intrigue.  My personal interpretation is that two distinct views are expressed.  The first is a public perception: a dirty derelict...eyeing little girls with bad intent.  The second is the viewpoint of
a sympathetic friend who sees Aqualung for who he is: a sad old man, hobbled and forlorn...yet somehow still aware that "flowers bloom like madness in the spring".

I've come to understand the truth of that.  

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