Jangly Guitars and Hay Bales

Tom Petty died this week.

The first Tom Petty album I discovered was Into the Great Wide Open. I was a junior in high school. It was just before Nirvana thrust the early ‘90s into grunge, and I was just starting to branch out from Erasures and Depeche Modes of the music world. “Learning to Fly” was one of my coming of age anthems.

A lot of people died in Las Vegas this week too. That news was chased by the typical politicizing and divisive interpretations of the second amendment. The one aspect that is clear to me is that no amount of concealed or open carry legislation would have saved those hundreds of festival attendees from injury or death.

The psychological blast radius from Las Vegas was so great that — as I heard on the local news — that ACL Fest was offering refunds to those fearful of a reprise. I’m hopeful the authorities will discover the motive for Las Vegas; that might ease concerns of copycats and whatnot.

In spite of all this mess, we capped the week on a high note. The three of us drove out to Rockdale for The Lights Fest, a traveling paper lantern lighting event. It made for great people-watching. We drove through some small Texas towns and ended up at a large venue with wide-open fields, large bales of hay and no city lights. A few small-time live music acts and rosy sunsets set the mood.

Aside from the tiki torches, lanterns and a handful of tents/food trucks, light pollution was non-existent. We were even able to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way streaming across the sky. It was a special evening.

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