Songs of Leaving

From an old journal

Squeezing through tight spaces in life drags things out of you that you never knew you had. The same can be said for floating through those great open stretches that demand nothing. It’s a different type of discovery, of challenges, but that’s what life is about. The differences from situation to situation make us who we are, or at least determine how we deal with the world. Some people can fly through the tough times and drag listlessly in the freebie moments. Others are the opposite, of course. I think I deal moderately well with each. I get very stressed when workloads get beyond me, but I think I get equally stressed (in a different way) when I have nothing at all to do but wonder.

I need some time to myself. Not this moment, but in the near future. A few days maybe, a month, a year. Something. I need to shut myself away in my bedroom, read a few books, listen to good music, and not speak. Meditative, regenerative… just a break. There’s been too much thinking going on and not enough growth.

Somewhere between busy and empty is a place where I exist, “be”, and accomplish dreams. It won’t be found on a computer, or in a school, or at a job, or in a cup of coffee. It could be found in a garden, a subway car, or a bathhouse in Rome. Or on a trail, with a dead leaf in one hand, a sigh ready in pocket, or a steak-knife in hand. Zen is such an odd idea, but it fits what I mean sometimes.

The other night, a piano practice room was open on the third floor of the IT building. I was in there for a bit with a few people. I played a lot of fun things on that piano. Well tuned is nice. When I was alone, in those moments between visitations, I played things I didn’t think I’d play ever again. A song I wrote a long time ago. Not very good or anything, but a very meaningful tune. It was a song of leaving, of endings and changes. Like the hanged man it dangles with a force of both dread and anticipation. I played it on the verge of tears, remembering those feelings I’ve lost since I wrote it. Hoe much love did I have bottled in me that created that piece. How is it that it’s remained inside so tightly, so deeply buried, that it can burst forth again with the same vigor yet be completely dormant for so long? What does that mean for love? What does it mean about me?

The slow days bring on memories or fears. Worry drowns out the relaxation, saturates it, and leaves a swampland where green fields were imagined. One day there will be a happy medium between the dirty city gutters of crunch-time and the spoiled earth of this wasteland. It’s already there… buried deep, silent, powerful and anonymous.