When the Music Speaks

December 5, 2018 2 By Chris Canton

When I start my day I sometimes notice some music swirling around in my head that I had heard far back, like a dream where you are suddenly cast in a different time period, and there are all the details before you.  I hear all the instruments clearly and the pitch will match that Youtube video version of it that I listen to  when I bring it back.  Greg Allman is one of those that seem to have influenced my preference in music overall– the bluesy “southern rock” sound that the whole industry and rest of society has credited them with having coined the term.

Today, I hear “Nobody Left to Run With,” basically about  reminisces of the past and reflections of friends we had and of wondering what became of them.  It’s a feeling of  “going solo in life”, you might say- settling down and acknowledging that the youthful time period of carefree discovery with close friends has established itself as pleasant memories that make up experiences of who we are today.  It’s a momentary looking back, a quest for reassurance of who we are and what we have become based on the sum total of past experiences.

So I think on about who is left to run with, as well as all those that have passed on- again confronting my own mortality yet, frustratingly, just wanting to get on with the present and look ahead and stay in a frame of mind where there really isn’t a past or a present or a future- just another today- and of what can be done with it to enjoy and experience another one. I guess I take stock of who I’ve become; taken a reading, so to speak, of where I see myself.  No wonder I’m “ol’ skool” – there seems to be a lot to look back on and it seems to take longer to focus back on the present– the space where there isn’t a past nor future.  As mankind moves on and societies evolve, this activity is universal, I’m sure.  But I guess, in a way, this looking back is the essence of what getting older is.  The funny part about it is it can consume us and age us quickly or it can continue to evolve into perspective where, yes, you can vividly recall facts and imagery from as much as 50 years back, yet still relate to the attractions of today that attract our more youthful selves if we want it.

I can relate to a smart phone the same way and maybe even more so as I related as a kid running to the wall phone with cord to communicate my thoughts and aspirations of that day with a friend.  That instrument was appreciated for enhancing that part of my life just as it is today, and I am that same person nonetheless. And so I enjoy the acquisition of wisdom and sense of relating to the present at the same time during this time period.  I imagine ever so slowly that we all begin to relate more and more to the past, and less and less with the present in feeling and fulfillment, and that it really isn’t a fault- just the culmination of a long lifespan.  As long as we can bridge that gap, I think we stand to feel the joy and contentment of sharing our experiences with the much younger and continue relating on many levels.

So yes, it’s kind of sad to know societal icons like Greg Allman and many others are no longer here.  And then it’s reassuring to know that other band members still are, and still doing their thing in bands they now lead.  Just as we do our thing, so it’s not literally an end game product of “nobody left”- there really isn’t an exponentially increasing amount of those around us ceasing to stay alive that are responsible for us feeling alienated from the present.  Just as much as I believe that we manufacture our own stress despite those outside entities in the environment doing what they do to put us on guard, the very fact that we have a mind to define the world around us and our place in it means that it is the source for our well-being and self-nurturing, and belief that everything is going to basically be all right for as long as we live.  It’s a looking for the bounty that produces that contentment, challenge and happiness.

There is always a bounty in any arena in life, weather it be in the darkest of times for a society, or weather the sun is shining.  We naturally want to share with the society we grow up in after having learned to adapt to it.  Therefore we identify with it.  Should we lose that identity through no fault of our own, is that to doom us to a sad rest of our days?  Were we to suddenly find ourselves shipwrecked on an island- yes, there would be nobody left to run with anymore.  But there would be observation and participation in that which is there.  The observation of any life form around us to share with and study and interact with. To categorize and organize as we humans love to do and pursue order and control of our environment.  For me, I have come to find that happiness is spurned on by events around us and of learning their meanings, but it is cultivated strictly from within.  And it is that shift towards within that can indeed, keep us on an even keel as we all go “ol’ skool” in a manner of speaking and reminisce.

And so, as there is but “now” that exists, tangibly speaking, I move about physically and acquire more thought and knowledge of the tasks at hand.  For me, today, it is to lace up a leather wallet, that has been tooled and stained in a dark brown finish to my client’s preference.  I do so via an interaction with me through choices I have given them of four colors:  antique dark brown, antique medium brown, antique black, or antique mahogany- nature’s earth-tone colors, that speak of what is the collective consensus. And I do it via that same communication device reinvented in a different way, having a larger keyboard on a desk and a screen with informational bits of electronic images transformed from wiring as the old wall phone had.  Consensus ends in the letters US; us — all of us… I move on to do this task of lacing the inner lining and pockets to its decorated hide, and prepare to ship out, only to show itself again, likely under a tree, on December 25, 2018, in front of the person my client had given it to as a gift. Though I will likely never see the moment, I know that I played a part in the creation of an object in the world and of the bringing of a smile to that person; and the payoff to me is that I so easily feel that fulfillment and desire to continue to be – I value a chance to not only live but to flourish just as the cow  that ate grass and enjoyed the sun and the other cows around it, and later gave its life and hide to society and me for which to tool its leather, and I merely reinvented a place for it in the world yet again.  Indeed, there are countless others to run with for as long as we breathe.

Greg Allman may have voiced those words, “nobody left to run with” but he also voiced the words:
“Gotta let your Soul Shine….”   To care enough to intend to share a legacy that can live on in hearts and minds in others we may never lay eyes on, is to pursue a most noble and fulfilling life, and for me the point of what living stands for.