When I originally wrote this Editor’s Note for Issue 149, I named it “A Ski Bum Looks at 30.” This was a tribute to Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks at 40”, which reflects on the life of a dried up sailor, born two centuries too late to explore the high seas. The title was changed after many rounds editing. It’s for a good reason. “A Pirate Looks at 40” is a deep cut, known mostly to Parrot Heads like my parents. Plus, there was already a song referenced in the article and the final draft wasn’t about regrets. It was about starting anew.
In honor of Jimmy Buffett’s recent passing, I listened to “A Pirate Looks at 40” and was struck by one line: “Still could manage to smile. Just takes a while, just takes a while.” Perhaps I originally misunderstood what Jimmy was saying. “A Pirate Looks at 40” isn’t just a ballad of youthful regrets. It’s also about healing with time, gaining perspective through age and opening up to new beginnings. —Betsy Manero
Izzy Lazarus, a college student from Vermont, and I headed to the Rocky Mountains in September 2015.