A Dance With The Dogs
I’ve been under the weather since Tuesday. I’m thinking it’s the flue- my hair follicles hurt, my body aches and I also have that annoying pain right behind the nose in the throat. I normally don’t get sick so it throws me off when I do. This has been a particularly annoying illness as it wont let me sleep- 3 AM…4 AM…5 AM. The “Dog Hours” my dad calls them- awake, nothing to do but think. And think. And think. He thought about his kids- I think only of myself. Of course, the more you think the more you stay awake and the more you stay awake the more you think.
At one point, while watching the clock goose-step through its military time I was thinking about regret. Life’s to short to regret I reminded myself as I lay there, but the Dog Hours told me that life’s too long and I’m too human to not have some regrets.
There is challenge going around the blog world that basically asks to write a letter to your 13-year-old self. And so I thought about this for a spell. What would I write to myself? What was I doing at 13 years old? Beware of these questions when the clock strikes 3 AM- this is how the dance with the dog begin.
When I was 13 years old a friend and I said to ourselves, “ya know- we ought to learn to play the guitar- yes indeed, that would be a fine thing”
When we were 23 we said, “You know if we learned to play the guitar when we last discussed this we’d be pretty good right about now- I bet we could play some Neil Young tunes. Women might swoon”
At 33 years old we didn’t talk about it- but we did remind ourselves that McCartney and Lennon were 26 when they came out with the Sgt. Pepper album- We would have been playing guitar longer than George Harrison- we might have mocked his lack of maturity on some of the tracks, but we still would have loved the album.
Now I’m 43. I would have been playing for 30 years. My fingers would be callused, my trusty guitar would be old and beat up but still weeping on demand. Through the years I would have gone through many phases- I would have learned rock and then probably become more interested in bluegrass and, of course, Dylan perhaps even a bit of Woody Guthrie- but by 43 years old I would be singing my own songs. They wouldn’t be clever songs- I would have outgrown the need to impress- but they would be truthful and from the heart. My songs would speak to the exact emotion I was having. “I wrote this in a cheap hotel in Owensboro, Kentucky- the home of mutton” I might say before rolling into a sad song about misdirection and aged meat.
Of course, you are probably saying that if I learned to play guitar beginning today I would still have 30 years to go through all these phases. But these are the Dog Hours, and the Dog Hours aren’t about solutions, the Dog Hours are about regret and fear.