Friday, August 04, 2006

All the Way to the End...of the Row

The last few weeks or so, when I wake up I find myself saying thing like, "Ok, I just need to make it past that meeting next Thursday" or "Once I get this out of the way, this will make sense" or "That's the weekend I can take a break." Do you know what I mean? It's like I can somehow convince myself that seeing these little benchmarks means they mean something.

And it's good to recognize the patterns, the high and low frequency waves in our lives that somehow give us the illusion that things are operating at either a low or fever pitch. Truth is, every day has its own pitch, and the days just keep on coming.

I am a little more fried than usual, and a teensy bit sad that in about three weeks, school will start and we'll have an entirely new set of complications to deal with. Between now and then I have a vision that I will calm down, settle in, and reconnect with what some call the daily grind but in a more conscious kind of way.

There really is nothing wrong with the daily grind. It's what you make of every moment, and in fact the decision to be in that moment, that give us the experience we call, "life." Nothing is real to us until we experience it. Each minute we are conscious we have choices to make and we can either make it this kind of day, or that kind.

The other evening at my lesson, when I was explaining to my teacher that I'm having trouble getting the right sound, and thinking "I'm not pressing down hard enough" or "Maybe it's my right hand," he said something really basic, the way he does at least once a lesson. "This is going to sound dramatic, but, you don't know if that's the last note you'll ever play. So this might sound corny because we're talking about playing a scale, but try to play each note like your soul is behind it."

What's so corny about that? I thought that was pretty sound advice.

So it's really not about monumental achievements, or stupendous strides -- although those times when we are recognized for, or recognize in ourselves, something out of the ordinary are still important and we have to remember to celebrate the victories. Nonetheless tt's the spirit with which each and every act is undertaken, whether it's just getting out of bed in the morning to face another day, or completing an important project, or helping a child or other loved one successfully through a challenging transition.

Last night it was back to The Kent Stage, this time with a friend who recently had been accepted into nursing school. What I think is an admirable and sort of extraordinary thing, this individual sees simply as a decision made, a path chosen. That doesn't mean it's not extraordinary in some way, at least to me, but it is also now a part of this person's everyday. And it's all about the everyday, in the end.

We enjoyed two bands. The first, Steppin' In It kicked I exhort you all to check them out. If I had a lot of money, I would buy them and keep them all for myself. Those guys were incredible, and it appears they'll be back to Northeast Ohio in September. More on them to come.

The other was Adrienne Young and Little Sadie, who was blogged on here about a month ago. Although as a band it seemed they weren't "quite done cookin'" as I sort of put it, near the end of the set there was this nugget full of truth. It's the title track of their debut album and it's called "Plow to the End of the Row." It's what we each have to do, every day, until it's done.

So I'll think about this song and the fact that my life is good, in fact way easier than most, and when I get to feeling tired I'll just remind myself that yes, the clothes need to be put away and the bills need to be paid and the grocery shopping needs to get done and clients need to be attended to and that damn door still needs to be fixed, so I'll just plow to the end of the row. With my soul behind it.

Plow to the End of the Row

Wake up in the morning in the moonlight grey
We got dirt to break, we got a note to pay
Gonna plow, plow to the end of the row
Wake up in the morning and plow to the end of the row

Down to the kitchen with my feet still bare
Children to the table, papa say a prayer
Gonna plow, plow to the end of the row
Down to the kitchen, got to plow to the end of the row

Cornbread for breakfast, won’t ya boil the grinds
Got to cut the furrow ‘fore the sun gets high
Got to plow, plow to the end of the row
Cornbread for breakfast and I plow to the end of the row

Sun just broke out over the trees
I got a aching in my back and a tremblin’ in my knees
If the mule won’t pull then the plow won’t go
If the seed don’t set, crop won’t grow

Chickens to the market, seven miles to town
Gotta make it home ‘fore the sun goes down
Big storm coming, I can see it in the sky
Hope it don’t hit ‘fore the clothes get dry

I got rocks in my shoes, dirt in my eyes
Working like a dog til the day I die
You got to plow, plow to the end of the row
I got rocks in my shoes when I plow to the end of the row

My baby’s waitin’ for me at the end of the day
She likes to ball the jack in the sweetest way
Gotta plow, plow to the end of the row
My baby’s waiting’ for me so I plow to the end of the row

Wake up in the mornin’ in the moonlight grey
We got dirt to break we got a note to pay
Gonna plow, plow to the end of the row
Wake up in the mornin’ and plow to the end of the row


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