Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lessons from the Magpie

A month or so ago we were heading out to run some errands. Hubby opened up the center console where he keeps his stash of cds and rifled through them... "How about a little Neko Case today?" He popped in the disc. As is often the case when he appears to randomly choose tunes, a song grabbed me at my core and wouldn't release its hold on me for days and days and days.

I took the cd out of his car and into mine. I listened straight through a few times and eventually hit the "repeat" button and absorbed Magpie to the Morning through my pores, listening to it no less than fifty times.

Does that ever happen to you, where it feels like you simply cannot get enough of a piece of music, that something inside you was nearly starving for the nourishment only that song could provide and thank the gods you found it when you did?

The song triggered so many thoughts - so many lines hit home.

Magpie comes a calling
Drops a marble from the sky
Tin roof sounds alarming
"Wake up child"
"Let this be a warning"
Says the magpie to the morning
Don't let this fading summer pass you by

I need to stop waiting for things to be just right. I need to get better at reacting, writing, deciding... not better at the individual things, just better at the doing of them. I think Nike got it right when they coined their famous phrase. I've had at least a dozen posts rattling around in my head in recent weeks. Have I written any of them? No. Why? I don't know... waiting to take care of this or that first so I can focus. Time passes, the bright ideas fade to sepia and I'm afraid I won't write them right so I write nothing.

Black hands held so high
The vulture wheels and dives
Something on the thermals yanked his chain
He smelled your boring apex
Rotting on the train tracks
He laughed under his breath
Because you thought that you could outrun sorrow
Take your own advice
This thundering and lightning gets you rain
You run and airtight mission
A Cousteau expedition
To find a diamond at the bottom of the drain

Maybe I'm taking myself and life too seriously. I didn't used to think I was an overly serious sort, but lately yeah, I think I am and it's a stinky plan and one that needs reworking because it isn't working. I need to learn to let go a little, to trust more, to control less... I want to learn how to just be more. Not "be more" - "just be" more.

Mocking Bird sings
In the middle of the night
All his songs are stolen so he hides
He stole them out from Whippoorwills
And screaming car alarms
He sings them for you special
He knows you're afraid of the dark

Why do we give fear so much control in our lives? Fear of failure, of being wrong, of making a mistake, of following the wrong path... it's rarely a useful thing, fear, unless someone is holding a gun to your head or a wild boar is chasing you through the forest. Mostly, fear is manufactured and nurtured in our heads until it has enough substance to take on a life of its own, and then it serves no one and nothing but itself.

Come on sorrow
Take your own advice
Hide under the bed
Turn out the light
The stars this night in the sky are ringing out
You can almost hear them saying
"Close your eyes now Kid"
"Close your eyes now Kid"
"Morning's teeth are lit"
They are waiting

Nothing is written in stone; today can start now.

Or now.

Or now.

Note to self: It's ok to change my mind, to try something and fail, to loosen the grip. I can wipe the slate clean or call for a do-over whenever I want and chances are pretty good that nothing bad will happen. Yeah, that's a good plan - I like that plan.

And how 'bout that- I wrote a post.

(crossposted in livejournal)


  1. Yay you! A post!

    With music, I find that even the best song pales after a couple of plays in a short time. I make it a rule never to deliberately play the same song twice in a day - I've broken the rule, of course, but only a couple of times in the last 25 years - just enough to convince myself that it's a good rule.

    On fear: I concluded, in my Theological phase, that "fear" is the root of evil. There's a place for fear in your decision-making, and that place is when you're looking to turn onto the highway and an 18-wheeler truck is barrelling down it at 60 m.p.h.; but when the danger is any less immediate than that, then "fear" is a bad guide to action, and decisions motivated by that fear will be evil decisions - they will end up making the world a worse place. The tricky part is in learning to recognise fear when you feel it.

  2. Apologies for neglecting this place... I've been delinquent in so many things lately. I almost wasn't going to cross post here, either - it's mostly just you and Castlerook and he hasn't written in months, either. I'll have to catch up on my reading.

    Interesting rule, Vet, but I couldn't do it. Often I listen to a song over and over and OVER again because I just can't get enough of it.

    I agree with your theory about fear. It's mostly a bad thing, at least the way we use it to "guide" us.