I wandered lonely as a cloud

Photo by Jorma Kaukonen

I’m a drifter on the sea of time. I remember my dog as a puppy… but he is not a puppy. He is grey around the muzzle as am I and we have spent the better part of a decade in each other’s company. I think of friends I have met and when the light of their existence surfaces in my mind it is as if I just talked to them yesterday. But that is not the way it is either.

One would think that it would be easy to hold all these dear ones and their memories close at all times but there just doesn’t seem enough time and space for that to adequately happen. Reflecting thus it just seems like the vessel of life doesn’t have enough space on board… or perhaps that’s just an excuse, or just the way it is.

There are so many people who have touched my life. I wish they were on the surface of the memory pond at all times instead of lurking in the currents waiting to be swept to the surface unbidden, at the oddest moments.

The odd moments come as they will and sometimes they cannot be ignored. Last night as I was heading bed a message pinged out on my phone. Normally, at the end of a day I ignore these pricks of conscience and cast off the shackles of bondage that one accepts when you let a Smart Phone into your life. The message was a group chat from Jack Casady and our friend Jeff Jampol.

‘Brian Rohan died.’

Back in the 60’s Brian was indeed the ‘people’s’ lawyer. He defended countless members of my generation most notably for pot busts. My ex-wife, Margareta, was one of these after the Airplane took a bust at Sandy Koufax’s Tropicana motel on Santa Monica. Paul Kantner and Margareta and I were sharing a suite and the cops came to our rooms when Paul and I were out. M took the weight for what they found in Paul’s room.

Brian and M would make more than a few flights to court in LA back when PSA would fly you to Burbank for under twenty bucks. Brian’s wit, wisdom and expertise would get her off in an era when a couple of joints might buy you a dime in prison. That is just a passing memory for me today.

The last time I saw Brian was a couple of years ago in LA at a Jefferson Airplane Corporate meeting which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but isn’t. Since we hadn’t seen each other for a while we spent some time at the table catching up. We were both in recovery so we spoke of that as well some of the roads we had traveled. Older men will do this… it keeps us connected to the earth to be able to talk to someone who knows where have been. Brian was a little older than I, but we were young together and that’s not something you can’t buy.

Over that last couple of days, I noticed the daffodils are blooming in odd little patches around the Ranch. There are some actual beds for them and then there is that one blossom that will make its presence known in the middle of nowhere. This morning as I walked The Big Guy, I noticed that the forsythia was in full bloom around the parking lot. Yesterday it was green… today a sunny gold.

Spring is here and thankfully and I am here to enjoy it with my family. As rivers inexorably swirl us to the sea, I cannot help but wonder how many seasons of the daffodils there are left for me to enjoy. I’m not the one who gets to pull tickets so this is a rhetorical thought of the first water.

I have another dog to walk.


Photo by Vanessa Kaukonen


  1. Comment made on March 28, 2021 by bh



  2. Comment made on March 26, 2021 by Brian Doyle

    All the orange trumpet fire dragons know is it’s their time to fly…

    There’s a Cadillac SUV TV commercial presently running that distinctively has Jorma’s opening notes for ‘Go To Her’ at the beginning as well as the underlying musical flavor…There’s zero doubt it is based on ‘Go To Her’…

    I just got a confirmed reservation for me and the White Rabbit for the Pfizer vaccine…We didn’t make the stand-by list cut for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine tuesday at the Sanibel Community Center so that turns out to be a blessing because I wanted the Pfizer vaccine anyway…

  3. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by Ed

    @jack blind

    That’s a really sweet post, Jack. Thanks for telling us about it.

  4. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by jack blind

    March 29th will be our 40th wedding anniversary, I planted daffodils in our yard on our 10th anniversary, we now live a few miles away, but as I drive by our previous home, they still bloom

  5. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by Tom in St. Louis

    Walkin’ the dog, one of the great, underrated pleasures in life.
    There’s always something interesting to see or hear.
    Plus, it has health benefits for both human and beast!

  6. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by Wayne

    PS: Noticed the Wordsworth reference!

  7. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by Wayne

    So when I was a young sailor in the Navy I used to occasionally stand a late watch with a senior guy or two who would regale me with tales of what it was like during the Vietnam war. It sounded so exciting, not like the boredom I was seeing.

    Then I realized I was talking to the survivors. It’s also like that in recovery, and it’s like that in life if you reach a certain age.

    It’s good to be alive today.


  8. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by Brad

    A most beautiful reflection to start this day, thank you Jorma. And, sorry for yet another loss.

    One of the more crass yet wonderfully colorful expressions I’ve heard around the recovery rooms over the years states: “I never went to the whorehouse to listen to the piano player.” The older I get listening For the piano player seems to become ever more and more important, if that makes any sense. And, lo and behold there is a whole wonderful world of bluesy-Boogie Woogie that came out of those institutions.

    Glorious Spring to you and yours.

  9. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by carey georgas

    Anybody watch “Without Getting Killed or Caught”? Some of the Fur Peace faculty played substantial roles in telling Guy’s story, and it was a good one. It’s the first time since the pandemic started that I’ve been in a roomful of people who talk like me. I mean, Rodney Crowell’s high school used to be in the same district as the school I attended, and Steve Earle only a few minutes further west. Damned near everyone in the show was from Texas or Oklahoma. It’s the first time I’ve felt socially “at home” in a year. Those tapes from Susanna’s archive were priceless. That’s what it sounds like when folks down here shoot the shit. Been so long since I shot it, I had just about forgot how sweet the sound.

  10. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by Ed

    I’m “only” 67, but having lost my mother to covid in December and with bad-news messages about friends or former colleagues more frequent every year, one does sense the creeping shadow…
    Your thoughts, and generosity in sharing them, are much appreciated. Thank you.

  11. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by John R.

    Thank you, Jorma.

  12. Comment made on March 25, 2021 by Kevin

    “The last time I saw Brian was a couple of years ago in LA at a Jefferson Airplane Corporate meeting which sounds like a contradiction in terms” Even amidst the sorrow of loss you can illicit a smile. This made me smile. So sorry for your loss.

  13. Comment made on March 24, 2021 by Richard Quinn

    Very well put Mr. K……

  14. Comment made on March 24, 2021 by Joey Hudoklin

    I know you are, but keep doing all you can to stay healthy Jorma. You and Jack are miracles.
    Seeya in Vero Beach, Clearwater.

  15. Comment made on March 24, 2021 by MarkD

    It’s being able to read these writings that keep me coming back to enjoy…and why I hope we get another book and more wonderful and enlightening songs.

    Thanks and keep those lamps…

  16. Comment made on March 24, 2021 by mike

    the shackles of bondage when you let a smart phone into your life. that would be a great song

  17. Comment made on March 24, 2021 by carey georgas

    Beautiful thoughts, Jorma. We don’t none of us know how many more bloomings we’ll witness. “I have another dog to walk” sums it all up perfectly, to me anyway. Don’t know how many’s left, but get back into this one and enjoy it for all it is. Thanks for the perspective.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *