Monday, November 16, 2015

A Post in the Wind

I guess, today, I am posting something just for me

It seems so few are listening here these days that I can indulge in a little self-pity and

Songs have long held for me a significance beyond the meaning of their words, above the beauty of their melody, inside the significance of their story

Mass shootings, terrorists, Paris is

Nope, none of those seem to work this morning.

I think I'll just go ahead and sing a song if you don't mind. You can go away if you want - I'm really just doing it for me.

I'd guess that was one of the first dozen or so songs I ever learned on the guitar. There is no end to the ways one can play this song, Dylan himself did it about four different ways, and Peter, Paul and Mary and every-damn-one else have interpreted it for themselves, and it seems to come out different every time I do it. It might seem trite and cliche after all these years. It's not. It is, and shall unfortunately ever remain, topical to the second, to the instant, to every now that shall ever be or ever was.

I've mentioned before that I sing and play the songs I have long known when I am feeling down. Not, truly, just to lift me or make me feel better, but, to... it's hard to explain.

To make me feel more.

Yes, I suppose that's it.

When I sing a song, this song specifically, I do so atop the echoes of all the other times I've done it. The harmonies of friends come back and to fill the lonely refrain. The tune floats along on the vague, nearly forgotten memories of the times I've done it before and it becomes something else. The memories make it new. Or, perhaps the now, the event that led me back to it, adds new weight or maybe it just lightens the burden or... I'm not making sense.

And, why am I crying?

Things happen that I don't understand. If I don't understand them, how, God, can I explain them to little boys?

This song is my lame explanation to them.

Sorry, boys, it's the best that I can do.

When I went away to college - and I've mentioned this before in some post past, but I'll be damned if I can find it - I typed up all my songs on my Mom's monster electronic typewriter...

Damn, this is a rough post to write. In looking at this now, I see that below Blowin' in the Wind is a song that we wrote as freshman in college which means I didn't type this particular one up until after college started. Now I remember. I think a couple of buddies and myself promised we'd type up the songs we knew over Christmas break. Yeah, that seems true enough, at least plausible.

Anyway, I typed them up on something called "erasable bond" paper, an almost vellum like paper that one could erase typing from. It streaked terribly. I remember, this seems impossible but it is true, that we'd agreed to use carbon paper and make another copy of each one so there would be one to share. Of course I couldn't erase the carbon copy but, I worked hard on the project - hours and hours. It is funny what comes back to you when you dive right into it.

I've redone all those songs, modernized them, digitized them, but, in a folder on a shelf are all those old sheets, crisp and brittle, yellowed like parchment, coffee stained and worn out.

(Yes, those are seed burns, no denying the obvious.)

It is funny how deeply this stupid piece of paper affects me. I think of all the hands that handled it, all the times I've looked at it, all the places it's been, all the stories it holds - like a touchstone, a talisman, it soothes me. It makes me remember that I've been somewhere, been through stuff, known folks, loved others... lived.

And, I think that is what this whole thing is about today.  I can't figure things out sometimes, I can't make sense of the seemingly senseless, the arbitrary, the evil, the sad.  But...

I know this song, I've figured out this thing, maybe that gives me hope that I can figure something harder out.

I dunno.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..." 

Z: "Why did you laugh?"

M: "Because you are funny."

N: "ish"

I'm funnyish, too...

Thanks for coming by, Peace to you, Peace to us, Peace to the whole damn world, we sure as hell need it...

Hey, boys.  I think everyone else is gone.  When you find me, as you both have, playing a song and crying or screaming it with my eyes shut or just mumbling it into the wind, know I am just trying to figure things out.  It's a coping device.  Don't let it scare you.

I love you both so much...

... hand me that guitar, won'tcha?


  1. I dunno, I don't mind the "raspy-voiced aging hippie"!

  2. I was fine until I saw the boyz pictures on the screen saver in the background.

  3. I'm pretty proud of that "raspy-voiced aging hippie" You have said it well and I too am crying at this point. I don't know what to tell anyone let alone young boys.

  4. Don't worry. The boys will understand. They may already.

  5. This was one of my favorite songs to sing as well in my folk singing days. This is a beautiful blog, well worth reading. Love from your Cousin Lynn

  6. I don't always comment, but I almost always read your posts when I get the notification in my inbox. You have such a way with words to describe feelings in a relatable way. Thank you for sharing your gifts.