Those of you who are dealing with the hurricane – be safe and know you’re in our thoughts. Extended Birdsong family please check in and let us know how you are doing!
The first cool dawn in a while came to us deep down in Texas this week. Cool is a relative term – it wasn’t time to shake out the flannel shirts yet, just a little cool on the skin on the other side of the door from where you get used to it being for a few months when you’re here. Fall connects us with the passing of time, of life’s chapters, but within that its beauty. We don’t get a fall here – it cools a bit from broil and then one afternoon the colder wind moves in and the temperature goes down 20 or 30 degrees, or you wake up to a 50 degree morning and that’s where things stay, about ten on either side of that. We have our spells and sometimes it freezes for a couple of days but it’s a mild winter we have. After the survival test of summer I am always grateful for signs of cooler temperatures and an old fuzzy flannel shirt is a wonderful thing.
I do these little missives for Friday most of the time, so before we speak again we will cross over September 11th. The big 9/11. Last week’s thoughts were partly about knowing exactly where one was during an event that was bigger than anything you’d previously known. A tragedy that probably wasn’t even yours but was BIG and set a marker down on the path of your life when you heard about it. Every generation has theirs and everybody has their own markers for their heroes or celebrities or artists they followed until THAT moment left its mark in YOUR life. Of anyone who was alive and aware in the States, I imagine most of them have a 9/11 moment. Those on scene, only those who’ve experienced war scenes can imagine. And all those all over with direct losses of family or friends… that’s a horror. But we all felt the ripples. We all got our scrapbook stamped that day, another marker along the path. In our then much smaller town here in Texas there was one particular welder who had experienced war scene trauma and we knew could be a bit off and excitable. It was a quiet morning behind the counter of my little music shop, and in he comes. “We’re under attack! They just attacked New York City!” “Thank you for telling me – I’ll check it out. It’s probably going to be OK, man.”
I figured the man got triggered by a news report of something and went off. But no. I walked next door to the tile store and they were watching it on a TV set. “Oh. My. God.” I came back to the shop and immediately started calling everyone I knew. “You OK?” “Yeah, I’m OK. You OK?” We were nowhere near it, we just needed to connect with our connections and feel that and make sure we were OK in our own skin, you know? It was a difficult moment to be alone as the scope of the events unfolded and it pulled you off balance. For all the tragic effects on so many lives and the ways it scarred and changed the world as we knew it before, so many woke up that day and really awakened in the days and weeks that followed. They changed their lives. They patched up differences. They got healthy. They took time. They grew patient. They re-prioritized. They started new hobbies. They deepened. They let go of other fears holding them back. They decided damn it they WOULD open themselves up to love, to connection, to community, to coming together, to service. Neighbors’ differences became very small and a reaching out was a reaching out whoever the hand was being reached out by. So many lives changed in ways that then changed so many lives. This is the re-seeding of the forest after the fire, the rebirth after the flood. Springtime always comes. The dawn always follows the dark. There is, eventually, through often very painful processes and un-asked-for reshuffling of lives and situations, beauty that will grow from the ruins of even unspeakable tragedy. We can’t wish the tragedy away or even fix it; all we can do is nurture those seeds inside and around us as we walk along.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by 9/11. I, as only one, who can only change and guide one, dedicate any good to come from the work I do on that day in your honor and to serve those seeds and their gardens, and their seeds, and their gardens. I hope the generations to come of all walks can find their way past any unnecessary nuttiness of our various tribes and only carry the highest and best of our fathers forward, leaving their battles in the rubble with the innocents.
For the rest of this year I’m going to be writing a bit about how a Birdsong comes to be. We’re going to start at the beginning – inspiration and design, and in the weeks to follow cover the materials and the craft of the steps involved. But without inspiration nothing happens… so tune in next Friday. And maybe feel inspired to create some beauty this coming week. You can’t change what has happened; you can only be a part of changing bits of it into beauty.
Listening to: Bruce Springsteen Born To Run autobiography audiobook, CDs 6 & 7; Bob Marley & The Wailers Rastaman Vibration deluxe 2CD; Glenn Spearman Blues For Falashah; Richard Betts Highway Call.