Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pt. 7

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

~Thomas Ken

There are moments of awakening during those crazy teenage years-moments which might speak of potential. I had one such awakening and must tell this to in order for us understand what was to follow.

My group of friends were all eco-nuts. We kind of idealized nature and vilified people. We saw people and infrastructure as a blight upon the pristine earth. These were all just ideas that we agreed with, sort of group zeitgeist. Our hallowed sanctuary was Kanawha State Forest. I developed a deep love and respect for this place and our gang would be out hiking practically every chance we got. Those were carefree days.

One summer, there was a period of intense introspection. Turning away from most socializing for this period, I felt this longing, this calling. I would almost describe it as being in love. Maybe it was just frustration and teenage angst. Don't know.

My routine was thus: rising fairly early (A feat unto itself.), I took my dog, Peppy, out with me to the forest. On the journey out, I might be listening to Fripp and Eno's hypnotic classic Evening Star. Perfect music for this crazy self-discovery.

I would take the time to climb up the hill to find just the right rock and then spend hours reading sci-fi classics by Ray Bradbury. The absolute quiet, the incredible beauty around me and the highly descriptive words of Bradbury just absolutely illuminated me. It was quite the experience. Doesn't sound like much to you maybe, but at that time, it was paradise. At times, I felt high, enraptured. And, no, I didn't smoke anything to get there.

I craved solitude like a drug.

When I had free time in the evening, that was spent with the guitar. Friends might call and I'd decline evenings out. When I would go out, all I thought about was getting home to play guitar. A close friend noticed this transformation. One night I reluctantly decided to go out with friends. My demeanor was not the usual clowning about, but reserved and thoughtful.Charlie asked me why I was being so antisocial. I remember Joe coming to my defense with, "Because this dude's got his shit together!" It was an awkward moment. Another moment was when someone asked my brother, "Does he fuck that guitar?" Point taken. Of course, now, all these things seem a bit silly and overly dramatic.

Perhaps I had hit a wall and had some mild depression, causing me to withdraw. Maybe I just neede a girlfriend, but I didn't have my shit together. I was discovering things about myself. The most important discovered was that I had a relatively good mind. Years before, I wouldn't have believed that. I never had the confidence in my mental abilities, often finding myself stumbling to express myself.
One aspect of this is that you can have a healthy mental life that is solely your own. It requires no one's approval and it is a part of you that no one can touch (People, being the horned devils they are, sometimes try to dig at this sensing its importance. Ever catch someone trying to invade your mental personal space? Oh yeah.). It is your right to a private space within. Call it the god space, your deepest identity or just the depth of consciousness. Whatever it was, it didn't require marijuana to invoke it.
Graduation came and I was wondering where in the hell I was going to college. If I was going.

And as the world was turning
It rolled itself in pain
This does not seem to touch you
He pointed to the rain

You will see light in the darkness
You will make some sense of this
And when you've made your secret journey
You will find this love you miss

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