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  Texas : Feature : Columns : 'The View from Under the Bus'

Mood Music and Mothballs

By Gael Montana
Local Contrarian and Tonsorial Artist

Looking back on it all from beyond the half-century mark makes for an interesting view. It appears that our lives play out to a wildly random musical sound track. Every memory in my head has a back-up tune, ranging from sitars to kazoos, classical orchestras to penny whistles. My excellent writer friend, Dave Thomas, once mentioned in the Luckenbach Moon that the banjos in his head kicked in at the beginning of the dirt road heading to our house. Iím with him on that one. Could be the reason we folks 'of a certain age' drift off without our own permission from time to time is because we're not just marching to a different drummer; it's quite possible that John Phillip Sousa's entire orchestra is guiding us along.

All of this erroneous music could also be a reminder to nurture a connection with our wings. A way of understanding that what make us release ourselves and soar is alive in the simplest things. Among the little earmarks in my life; a winter game of whist in a cozy coldwater flat on Beacon Hill, clam-digging on the gray Seaside coast of Oregon where a home-made box kite once lifted me over the sand. Memories of the achingly beautiful constellation 'Scorpio' taking shape across the entire bright desert sky of a velvet Saltillo night still takes my breath away. We all have so many rich little bits of magic in our hearts it's easy to take them for granted. Guilt may urge us to shame as we cling to our small joyous moments, especially when all around us mourn, but I'm pretty sure that joy is a gift we are not allowed to squirrel away for later. If we can share even the tiniest bit of magic in everyday ways we stand a chance of running the terror into the light where it can burn away for good.

Something about this time of year reflects the base energy of life when sap wanes and we mammalís drift gently toward hibernation. Notice how the urge to yawn becomes irresistible as you pass a sleeping cat; knits and flannels begin to surface, jangling alarm clocks become airborne. This is the time for healing and rest. To remember kindnesses and forgive slights, both real and imagined. Granted, there are those who wish us ill, that strive to kill us or worse. But there are more important individuals who implore us to be positive and supportive, to react in a sane and mindful manner offering assurances, not panic. My dear and wise friend, MartMay, says it's not how we act. but how we REact. How true that is, how simple it sounds, how incredibly difficult it is to pull off.

Considering we aren't permitted to glimpse more than an inkling of the future it would seem that this is a good time of year to reflect on those times that warm our hearts. To remember a time when we truly owned the earth. As children, we simply KNOW the world is ours, likely because we are so much closer to nature than the world of adults in our diminutive bodies and wide-open minds. Now, as Grandparents, we come to understand that childish belief to be one of the huge truths in life. We take to protecting the world for them just as they will for theirs; the little rulers of life itself. In becoming caretakers we realize that there is a tipping point where we belong to the earth, another truth that will come to every living thing. And that is as it should be.

Politicians seem to occupy an entirely different reality, particularly now. I can remember when we agreed to disagree and debates were somewhat civilized. All the rank speculation coming over the air waves from those who would rule our land become fairly amusing from this point of view. I wish them all well in their race but the future and truth will out when the hot breezes cool. Meanwhile lets try to make our children proud of the world they have inherited and not play hateful and discordant music behind the freedoms we hold so dear. It's a sound track they don't need.

Copyright Gael Montana
'The View from Under the Bus'
March 10 , 2008 Column
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