Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Desperate Souls and the Lucky Ones

All around me, I see them. They're coming. They're approaching. They lurk on the horizon, just barely out of the crest of your view but still within the whiff of a strong breeze.

They are the walking dead.

I'm not talking about the HBO series - I'm talking about the people who have given up on this life and who are basically dead in their own shoes.

You've met them. Their views are set. They know everything. They judge. They don't need to go out past eleven because nothing good happens after eleven. They drive minivans. They have kids when they don't need to. They own a house that they can barely pay for. They wear sweatpants most days. They enjoy watching others and offer little creatively.

They are done, in every existential sense, but they continue to exist just for the sake of fulfilling some earthly quota.

They haunt me. They haunt you.

They haunt because they are.

I have recurring dreams of laying in a field, on a warm and mystical summer night, in the shower of a billion stars. I feel the grass through my fingers like the hair of the earth. I feel cared for, I feel warm and I feel connected to everything around me. I'm wearing a hoodie my friend Garry bought for me at Value Village. I celebrate the summer. I smile in the darkness where no one can see my expression, but it's as real as the stars. The corners of my lips spread. My face warms. I tuck my hands into my front pocket.

I tap my foot to rhythm of the universe.

And I get it.

Between the highways of and bi-ways of the rocky crags of this great country, I've seen peace and I've seen interest. The arms of the road are endless and they call to me, extending from molten rock into the flesh of my being.

Sadness is all around us, friends. It pervades our thoughts. It perverts our innocence. But in another way, it must be embraced. As children, we get coddled into thinking that the power of 'happy thoughts' will pacify us through the eye of any life-storm. Real strength and spiritual compassing, however, comes from the welcoming of sadness and the learning that is involved with dealing.

Dealing with the fact that we all have our burdens and our own shit to get through.

Sometimes songs say it best.

Torquil Campbell of 'Stars' drips it best from the steam of his pen in Life 2: Unhappy Ending. On one of their best albums to date, images of street brawls, riots and spray-painted hearts cascade through the flow.

'Life was supposed to be a film - was supposed to be a thriller
Was supposed to end in tears
But life could be nothing but a life - could be nothing but a con
Where's my unhappy ending gone?'

What happened to this life? Where did we go wrong? When did we, as humans, lose the passion and replace it with predictable, inane bullshit and comfortable couches?

Whatever we get is short, often filled with regret and never the way we'd imagined it to be. The moments and seconds are machine-click reminders that we are here and in that whatever we do, we need to inspire.

We need to fuel the lifeblood of each other's dreams. We need to stop being afraid of what people think of us.

We must sail on, through the stinging winds of conformity and the cold crash of rejection. Jon Brooks once said that even if one person, through the performing of his own songs, stepped out of their crappy basement and wrote an album, then it was all worth it.

Can we make it all worth it?

Are we desperate or lucky?

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