Monday, March 5, 2012

I'd Love to Speak with Leonard

In the mornings, on my way to the office, I take a traffic shortcut through a pleasant neighborhood.  One morning I saw a man in a suit and hat sitting on a front lawn, talking to two young men across from him who looked like acolytes.  

The man looked unmistakably like Leonard Cohen.  I felt a frisson of panic and excitement.  I put two and two together:  I'd had friends who used to live on another part of this street in the early 90s, and they had told me that L.C. lived somewhere on the same street.

I went around the block and passed by again.  Leonard looked over at me, and my car and I slunk off in embarrassment.

Was it really he?  This was confirmed for me when Cohen's latest album, Old Ideas, came out early this year.

I knew that chair, that lawn, those stairs.

I later learned that it's no secret that this is Leonard's house, and that the photo was taken by his assistant around March 2011 (which you can read about here).

One day I stopped and snapped the photo below (I used an app to add the labels you see at the top of this post).  I felt I had to somehow concretize the experience for myself.  But also, on my commutes, the chair had become the objective correlative of all of my feelings about Leonard's work; I felt an affection for it and its patina.  It could have been the chair with a dead magazine.

And every time I take that shortcut, I imagine what I might do should I ever see Leonard sitting out there in the morning sun again.  Would I roll my down my window and simply blow him a kiss while gliding by?  Dare I stop and approach that sportsman and shepherd living in a suit?   Would the "lazy bastard" offer to show me his place and make me a cup of tea?

As Hemingway wrote, "Isn't it pretty think so?"

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  1. The website looks great, Sharon! And I loved the pics and this blog entry. As for whether you should stop if he's ever out there, you SHOULD! A few years ago when I was in a blue grass band we ran into Earl Scruggs backstage at a National Capitol Fourth celebration. He was just sitting in a chair under a tree (the stage and backstage area were outside). We all went over to him and talked for about an hour. Our banjo player got a lot of good advice, Earl seemed to enjoy the conversation, and I'll never forget it!

  2. Yes you should, and then share! From another Leonard fan, Beth....