A bit more rambling…I’ve spent the day sacked out on the couch fighting with a rabbit who’s trying to get at the hot wheat bag behind my back. I think she figures its lunch. I’ve been pretty rough on myself over the last few days and every once in a while my body likes to remind me of the years I carry with me, thus the wheat bag on the tender spot.
I can’t move with any kind of determination so this is a forced day of reflection. I don’t just lie around too often as I’m one that likes to be busy. I read, write, or work around the house. Even when relaxing with television I put myself through the mental exercise of trying to figure how that kid could possibly have made it through to the live rounds. A racked-back forces me to do something that I keep promising myself I’ll do…nothing.
The anniversary of JFKs assassination started me thinking about my age. I was in high school at the time, a lanky scrawny kid with slicked-back hair and tight black jeans. Most guys strutted around doing the Elvis thing with a curled lip and a nasal “uh-huh” way of talking. Elvis was okay but I liked Dion…still do. When I started playing guitar around the fire with my less-than-rowdy but incredibly wonderful friends I’d break into Runaround Sue or the Wanderer, although by that time I’d chosen Ruby Baby as my Dion favorite. I clearly remember some of those nights and my thoughts drift.
My youth…when did it end? At what point was the simple lightness of being replaced with the weight of life? At precisely what time did I become an adult? What year was it? Was I fourteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty? On what day did I slip from boyhood to manhood? It was probably a Tuesday. I read somewhere that more things happen on a Tuesday than any other day. I don’t know if that’s true and really, I don’t care. But if it was Tuesday then at what time did it transpire? I would assume this change in life came at midnight. I wish I could remember the last Monday before that first Tuesday. I’d like to think that I wrestled as much youthful exuberance out of that day as I could muster but I surely wasn’t aware of the fate that would strike me as soon as the clock struck twelve so I probably frittered the night away watching television.
People don’t think about their youth until it starts playing hide and seek. Sometimes it’s difficult to find but other times it’s simply riding the waves of an old rock and roll song or stretched out across the surface of an old photograph. The keyword here is “old”. Photographs and records are materials and materials age as time passes. The emotions we rediscover upon hearing or seeing these things are not material. Youth is a spirit weaving through us like the mist that snakes silently through the undergrowth on a crisp autumn morning. Bodies may bend and wrinkle but youth lives on unfettered by physical restraints. It’s all in how you look at it. It’s buried somewhere in each of us and the ink has long since dried on the exhumation order.
An interesting thing that happened today was in regards to a line that I wrote for a lyric. This lyric has been nearly finished for weeks now because, well…to be blunt, I’m not very good at it. There’s a line in this song that had no real meaning, it just felt good and it fit. The line is “I’m going to roll my soul and free my mind”. Simple enough but what does “roll my soul” mean? As I said, originally nothing…it was filler to keep the rhythm until something better came along. But the more I tried to change it the better it sounded and… a meaning surfaced. While I’m sure a lot of new age thinkers will patronize me with raised eyebrows and an unwilling nod toward my philosophy, it deserves at least as much of an acknowledgement as any concept surrounding an abstract.
At the time of birth our souls are fresh and new. Even if the theories about inheriting an “old soul” are true I’m sure it’s been refurbished, tested, and detailed before leaving the factory so that when it’s presented to a new owner it’s as close to fresh and new as it can possibly be. I think that the soul, like youth, is a collector. While youth collects all the trials and tribulations that daily life throws at us, the soul collects emotions, attitudes, and spirits…some good and some not so. All of this piles up on top of what was once pure and accepting and every so often we should take the time to roll our soul, flip it, and bring the good back to the top…like tossing a salad. My best analogy would be that restless night when the air is close and the temperature is too unbearably hot for sleep and I flip, or roll, my pillow. It’s an instant albeit momentary gratification and soon the reason I flipped my pillow will come back to the surface. But I had that moment and that moment now becomes a part of me.
Today whilst temporarily incapacitated I’ve rolled my soul and re-felt the simplicity of what “being” is all about and suddenly life just doesn’t seem as complicated anymore…except for the rabbit gnawing on the wheat bag beneath my back.