Moving On.

When I was young, I once thought of myself as a rock of permanence in a world of change.

Now that I have grown, and found my stride, I have discovered that it is as a shifting specter of change in a world of stasis. And the next change is coming. I can almost taste it on the breeze. It whispers to me in the summer stillness of mid-morning "soon."

Lord, I was born a ramblin' man
Trying to make a living and doing the best I can
When it's time for leaving, I hope you'll understand
That I was born a rambling man[1]

As a child there was a phrase I read once in a book that changed my life, "Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky." It was phrase for me. My title. I knew it. It etched itself deep into my conscious and remained there through years in which I became more serious. More dramatic. Years during which my annoying banter and cocky attitude only served to cover up my inward attempts at rooting myself to something more permanent than me.

Why did I struggle against my very nature? I don't know.

Take it easy, take it easy
Don'’t let the sound of your own wheels
Drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don'’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy[2]

I have learned much since those early days. I have traveled far and met many. There have been cities that welcomed me as if they would be my homes, but they were temporary resting places for me. There have been women who loved me as if they would have been my wives, and I loved them in my way, but each became only a temporary respite from a longer journey. There have been employments and titles and positions that I have held, but each has proved but a method of moving from one step to the next.

And I find myself writing as a method of expression. I am searching for gold. I am panning out my life and letting the answers glint in the sunlight among the questions and confusion.

So that is how I learned the lesson that everyone is alone.
And your eyes must do some raining if you are ever going to grow.
But when crying don't help and you can't compose yourself.
It is best to compose a poem, an honest verse of longing or simple song of hope.[3]

And so each new stage in my life has become a moment in a long passageway full of riddles and puzzles. At each stopping point I occupy my time with discovering the next doorway, and the next key that will open it. What lies beyond the next door, and the next key? Another door, another key, perhaps.

And as I exit each room I leave behind a phase and a friendship and a lover and a dream that I could have been happy in that room--that my restlessness would pass in time. And in each new room there is a new set of faces, a new girl that will catch my eye, and a new dream of mine that maybe this is the end of my journey.

But it is never so. The journey will continue.

Am I traveling forward or merely fleeing what is behind me?

How fast will it go?
Can it get me
over her quickly?
Zero to sixty.
Can it outrun her memory?
Yeah, what I really need
is an open road,
and a whole lot of speed.[4]

And some days when my wandering soul gathers depression about it like a cloak against the cold of being unknown, I am challenged by my new aquaintances. Cheer up, they say. Smile.

They don't understand that I cannot combat injustice with happiness for my own sake. I can only put on the smiling face and play the fool when others need it, not when I am choosing my own path. I mourn because it is honest to do so. Leave me be.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.[5]

And there are days when I find my salvation as I am swept along, only in the destruction of what I once believed more sacred than anything else. There are days when my unique talents and abilities bloom and I can barely keep myself from reaching out, though I know I will not make lives better perhaps I can ease both our burdens. Perhaps touch is not a demon but a magic, that can be either good or evil as it is willed.

And we danced, and we drank,
and I've seen some things you probably never got the chance to see.
Don't worry, Mary,
Cause I'm taking care of Danny
and he's taking care of me.[6]

But at the end of the day when the doors have closed behind me and the new room spreads before my feet. And I can hear the voice I have left behind calling out in muffled tones for my return, I know then where my world lies, here between my shoulders. My existence defined by the edges of my fingertips and nothing more. My universe is my own, and I doubt that I will ever bring another into it.

'Cause I'm a one man guy in the morning
Same in the afternoon.
One man guy when the sun goes down
I whistle me a one man tune.
One man guy a one man guy
Only kind of guy to be.
I'm a one man guy.
I'm a one man guy.
And that one man guy is me.[7]

Song List:
[1] Allman Brothers - Rambling Man
[2] The Eagles - Take it Easy
[3] Bright Eyes - Bowl of Oranges
[4] Montgomery Gentry - Speed
[5] Johnny Cash - Man in Black
[6] Dido - Mary's in India
[7] Rufus Wainright - One Man Guy

Saturday, May 28, 2005


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