Been a Long Time Crossing

Swooping in on icy winds, certain of the displeasure of ancient gods, Robin Trower’sBridge of Sighs” is a very long way from the warm glory of a Venetian lagoon.

Robin Trower's 'Bridge of Sighs'Powered as much by bassists James Dewar’s growly vocals as Trower’s warbling and sailing, “Bridge of Sighs” has always seemed longer to me than its actual length of just under five minutes. Perhaps it is the song’s ability to transport me to imaginary places—places where Conan fought; where hobbits thwarted dragons; places where imagination is real, and reality doesn’t matter.

As a teenager, I discovered the science fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and J. R. R. Tolkien about the same time I discovered a new kind of rock and roll. While songs I knew by the Beatles, Buddy Holly, and others would have been welcome by the generation before me in many cases, it’s unlikely that my father would have ever cozied up to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Procol Harum (with or without Trower) and many others who provided the soundtracks for my many sunny summer afternoons, lying on my bed, immersed entirely in stories of Carson of Venus, Conan the Cimmerian, Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, and others.

After years of wandering and wondering, I’ve maneuvered things back around to a bit of that simplicity. Once again, I know it’s okay to lie on my bed on a sunny afternoon, reading pure fantasy, Robin Trower raging in the background while Tolkien and company transport me to other worlds. My Best Beloved understands; I know she does, because she’s seen those other worlds in her own way and knows how special they are to us both.