Above: Dan Fogelberg back when we were neighbors in Colorado.

As I write this entry, I’m listening to an album called “The Innocent Age,” by singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg. 

Dan was one of my favorite singers back in my college days, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and I owned most of his albums.  He lived high in the San Juan Mountains, a branch of the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado and the place where I spent six summers when I worked as a ranger for the Bureau of Land Management in the 1980s.  We lived in the same place at the same time, and although we never crossed paths, we both loved the Rockies.  From his music, I could tell that we were kindred spirits.

I hadn’t listened to Dan's music much these last many years, to be honest.  But about a month ago, as I was going through my MP3 music collection, I stumbled across his albums and decided to play some of them.  Listening to his voice again brought back many good memories – and a few sad ones.  When I heard, “The Same Auld Lang Syne,” a bittersweet 1981 song about two former sweethearts who meet by chance on Christmas Eve (based on his true-life experience), I thought about a similar event in my life back in those days.  Every time I’ve listened that song, whether in 1981 or 2020, it's brought a tear to my eye. 

Hearing Dan’s music again really lifted me up, so I Googled his name a few days ago to see what he was up to now.  Then I was shocked to learn than Dan had passed away of prostate cancer in 2007 at the age of 56.  Knowing he was gone – and had been for many years – deeply saddened me.  All these years I figured, vaguely in the back of my mind, that he was still out there somewhere singing his songs and that I’d probably see him in concert someday. 

As he wrote in one of his early songs, I suppose it was "Part of The Plan."  But my, how fleeting and precious life is.  Here's a concert video of him singing one of my favorite Fogelberg tunes:  There's a Place in the World for a Gambler.



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