There are certainly enough people in my life from whom, for one reason or another, I have gradually drifted apart. I think the entire existence of social media is based upon this fact. Most have come from mere distance, but some have definitely come from disagreement or decisions to take different paths.
But I would also like to discuss the decision to take a different path entirely, to veer off on a tangent, to take a decidedly marginal stance, or even to drop out completely. Divergence is a decision to accommodate loneliness. Going it alone is unfettered, but it is also aloof and antisocial.
The cover photograph is taken close to my home near Ash Fork, Arizona. The people living in this area are certainly independent, some to the point of being nearly hermits. However, I rarely come across anyone who is unsociable, in fact, most are outright friendly. But those people are certainly here. To be both unfriendly and isolated is to take independence to a real extreme and to risk real consequences. It is lonely, and very sad.
This album, then, deals with divergence, both every day and extreme.
An Occlusion is something which blocks the path or obstructs the flow. Many relationships have things or subjects which are deliberately avoided (no politics or religion!), but once breeched, the relationship can go in another direction. In Times Gone By refers to better times. The famous song that Sam plays in the movie Casablanca (which I often refer to) claims that some things, love being one of them, are always the same. That doesn’t seem to apply to people. To Agree to Disagree is the civilized way to deal with conflict, and to keep relationships intact. An Argument, however, is often what happens instead.
A “road less traveled” doesn’t necessarily mean a road that is empty. A true divergence can be a world unto oneself, and quite lonely indeed. There is no-one to bounce things off of or to console you when things go south. You can only talk to yourself, Sempre Soliloquy. Leading a solitary life can also often lead to pondering the basic questions, over and over again. The Same Question broaches this, and is also a reference to Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question. When living alone, fantasy is often ones only diversion. Whether for artistic creativity, elaborate planning, or just better circumstances, a Nocturnal Fantasy is sometimes the only socialization available for those who are truly alone.