A drizzle and Daniel Johnston

Now, every time I tune to this in my home office, in the throes of various superficial work-related crises, I would remember the first time hearing this – while cycling the leg from Padre Burgos, Batangas to Candelaria, Quezon in 2021. It was one of the songs in a Rapha playlist by endurance cyclist Lachlan Morton. By design, it is to be layered on top of all the ambient noise one hears while cycling, may it be honks of trucks or that flapping sound of hostile summer winds, or vistas of rice fields swaying with the wind, its direction visible as it ripples through, like rows of hair under a blower. There were children playing outside their homes, with face masks on, some flying kites, and then there were teenagers getting by with playing OPM on a guitar, some even waving hands as I pass by. I see vulcanizing shops and sari-sari stores with people lounging idly on makeshift benches. With a primitive organ, a simple melody and an impassioned whistling the song is able to arrest this feeling of being unhampered and carefree: a companion for long-distance cycling in idyllic settings, with the goal of putting one’s mind in a jar, sealing it with a tight lid, hiding it under a rock, and going to wherever your bike takes you. Admittedly the song is rough around the edges, but I think it adds to its deceptively easygoing and languid charm. Only when I made out the words did I find myself feeling crushed, teary-eyed on every stroke of the pedal. It’s always drizzling somewhere with someone tuned in to Daniel Johnston.

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