Turn Around

Some songs that were just pretty or vaguely moving when I first heard them in my teens have become painful and clear with age and experience. I was listening to Pandora while I did the dishes this morning and heard “Turn Around”. I’ve always loved that song. What does it mean? The lyrics seemed to contradict themselves. Music lyrics are like poetry. Well, the good songs are anyway. They mean something. They are trying to express a feeling or concept. I love them. This one I just couldn’t decipher, until now.

I live this feeling. In the past, I’ve felt pulled in two by conflicting or irrational feelings. When I was younger and first married, I felt stranded between my family life and my independence. I could not succumb to the feeling of being eternally connected others. The responsibility of living up to what other expected of me was just too much. It still is at times. But then he’s there, kind, reassuring, calm, my solid rock that I can never let down, not because I cannot do wrong or fail but because he loves me unconditionally whether I’m happy or sad, rich or poor, grumpy or sweet. When I see that look in his eyes and feel his arms around me, I’m immediately lifted up and powerful. It’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time, a pain in my heart that I treasure more than life itself.

For the Art!

A lot of very righteous people complain about the lack of morals in today’s artists, but I started thinking “What popular or famous artist of any time isn’t messed up in some major way?” I mean, Van Gogh comes to mind. Edgar Alan Poe? I’m sure even Beethoven had issues of morality.

Artists are a strange group. I grew up around a lot of artist types and spent the majority of my young adult life surrounded by them. I could never understand them personally. I loved their work, their performances, but I wondered “Why can’t you just turn that off when you’re done creating?” I guess they can’t.

They are so in touch with their “right-brained” stuff, so busy destroying the box while working outside it, so enthralled with communicating the symbolic ideas they have whirling around in their heads, that it messes with them somehow. It scrambles them?

We can be touched by their magic, know their faults, and be better people for it. It feels like a sacrifice to me. Maybe we should be grateful they are compelled to make that sacrifice for our enlightenment and entertainment. Maybe we should reach out and love them anyway, even though some of their work flies in the face of our sensibilities. Art of all kinds is what makes us better humans, right? Pay them in love and acceptance. We don’t need to emulate them but learn from what they are trying to say.

Dead Head

Do you listen to the Grateful Dead? I never did really but my sons are huge fans and now that we have a VW bus, you kinda have to be, don’t you?

There’s some amazing poetry in that music. This one touched me today, cruising down the highway and bothering all the drivers wanting to speed by and miss the view. It’s from “Box of Rain”, one of my very favorites.

“It’s a long, long time to be gone but a short time to be there.”

I know that feeling. I love my home. I love my neighborhood. But I do love to travel and see the country. I feel the pull of both each time we hit the road.

An Example of How “Unschooling” Works

They are fans of Simon & Garfunkel. They saw them on an old Saturday Night Live. They bought several albums and have been playing them in the car a lot. They dug out an old song book we had and looked up guitar tabs online. If I get up in the middle of the night I will find them playing guitars together much of the time.

One of the songs is called “Freedom Rider”. It’s powerful. But what is it about? I had an inkling it was something to do with the civil rights movement. They looked it up online and read a bit about it, filled me in.

Separate event, my husband told me that he had recently read that it wasn’t just that whites would not allow blacks to eat in their restaurants, but that it was illegal to do so. Even if you wanted to, you weren’t allowed. I’d never heard that in school or in movies. I’d also heard from my MIL that when she had gone to the south in the 60’s she was amazed at how they treated black people. It wasn’t like that in most other areas. Sure there was some natural separation or grouping of like people, but not the legal separation like the south.

Another separate event, I learned in one of my free online law classes that in our system you  must be harmed by a law to bring it to court and have it deemed unconstitutional. You can’t just believe it is, hire a lawyer, and bring a case. This goes for  any case brought by a citizen. Another time, I had been reading a lot about jury rights and how the jury was created to work by not just judging whether or not you have broken the law but also if the law is just and should be law.

Months later, we watched “The Butler” on DVD. There were college kids sitting in white areas of the restaurant and politely asking to be served. That is against the law. It is an act of civil disobedience. The point (which was not illustrated in the movie or any other public school class I took) is that they would be arrested, a lawyer would take the case and put it to a jury that the law separating blacks and whites was unconstitutional. Even if the restaurant owner wanted to serve them he couldn’t, unless he were willing to break the law and take it to court as well. It’s costly in many ways and the students were under the direction of adults trying to make a point. They knew the risks they were taking and willing to take them to improve things. The “Freedom Riders” were doing something similar and getting the violence on TV news across the country would enlighten people and change hearts, encourage the laws to be changed. Politicians usually want to do what will get them elected and make them not look bad.

So I’m excited about the connections I’ve made and tell the family. We all discuss it to great length. Talk about what could have been done differently, how the federal government got involved, how some of the violence could have been avoided, what the civil war was about, how other countries dealt with slavery, how we did it differently, how black people are perceived in our country as opposed to others, etc. It went on and on. And it still goes on as we learn new things and find new sources.

This is common at our house. We are always finding new things in the most unlikely places and they are vitally important to our understanding of the world we live in. I really don’t think that it would have had the same impact on any of us if I had decided that today we would discuss the civil rights movement in the United States and brought out a government issued book. Or any subject for that matter.