A banjo is an excellent story writer. It’s a 5-string choose your own adventure. It’s a thriller. It’s the romance writer of stringed instruments. Go down the neck, and you get some science fiction and fantasy sounds…the bard of a space court. It’s African poetry. It’s a medical drama about a woman needing a musical cure for a rough week. The banjo is a story, and it is the cure.
A thousand black-winged dots above the horizon
Cut through the clouds
On an icicle blowing wind
Forming glass of water, nature’s sculpture
Shall they reach the sun above five more horizons?
Or shall they fall into the winter of the soul ?
Their dark wings collapsing in peace
For respite in the silence minus the whistle of that very same wind
It cannot take the glow of Spring’s first warm light on my winter skin.
It cannot tilt my heart on the axis it spins.
It cannot lay claim to the adventures of my mind.
It, therefore, will not win.
It will lay bare our faults and our fears.
It has no soul. About nothing it cares.
It will ravage the old and young the same.
It will expose our mistakes and immortal shame.
And when it’s darkness towers over us, and a last stand remains,
Rush boldly we will, shedding its chains.
It cannot, it will not, it should not transpire,
A dimming of our humanity’s fire.
It cannot, it will not, it should not conspire,
For we are glass blown into steal, forged from this same fire.
I can still feel the sun’s heat on my face,
even when fear wrestles with grace.
I can still see love in another’s eyes,
while facing the darkness of demise.
I can still water a flowering bud,
as my emotions get swept away by the flood.
And I can still believe today will be tomorrow,
when my heart mends from subsuming sorrow.
In the quiet of the night
In the hole of the soul
In the alley where it lived
Under the moon covered in clouds
The sadness it did bring,
Pulling the stitches of the world
Infecting the tears of many
While living in the body untold
Through the darkness it spread
Killing wisdom with a stone
But through it all a tiny light did glow
And with it, brought hope
Small and grand gestures brought healing
Like vitamins from the sun
And the virus disappeared
Into the cave from which it did come
For humanity is the strongest medicine of all
“Can I get directions to the end?,” she asked.
“To find End, go back to Began,” he replied.
“Take no baggage or holes in your heart. Sometimes you go to End to find where you start.”
She huffed, and she ranted, as the curious man strode away.
For she would not be able to make the end today.
Whenever I find myself in trouble or hear the woes of others, there is a unifying theme. Everyone is searching for what is on The Other Side of their current strife.
Is is health? Is it a new job? Is it love? Is it love undone? Is it wealth? Is it peace? Is it a trip? It seems for most as if The Other Side is one or two magic things that will make life seem beautiful, whole again. I am learning The Other Side is not that simple or concise.
If you imagine life as a circle you continue around, there really is no Other Side. You will always have closures, new beginnings, and in betweens. Going in circles is dizzying. Most of our world is forced into a linear progression where if we achieve #1, then we can continue on to #2. While I don’t want to go in circles, I know that I have done #1 on many occasions, and #2 never comes. Am I a failure? No, not at all. Maybe I am just not meant to have that #2. Life is not tidy enough to remain linear.
So how do we pull ourselves out of circles or off endless, hurtful, linear paths?
I like to break down The Other Side into moments I live each day. This past year, I did not deserve to lose my job. Today, I really don’t want to face oncoming health challenges. I’d love to see what is on The Other Side of these challenges. Also today, I looked in the mirror and realized I made the successful conversion to being a vegan. I am working steadily on my book and job search. I have volunteered and put so much good back into the world while I have
been out of work. And, most importantly, I have people who love me, get me. These things are Other Sides, too. They are not necessarily big moments or solutions to major issues. They make a difference though.
Other Sides can be the in betweens. They can be slides off of vicious cycles. They can be as simple as a glass of tea after a tough day or as complex as a cure for our disease. They can be what is in us waiting to come out or what is outside of us waiting to lift us to new heights. Appreciate them all. It’s how you keep living when life punches you.