The Heart of Music

It’s hard to describe what happens to me when I strap on my guitar and strum the first chord of the first song of the first set. Something or someone else takes control, directing every move, every chord change, every word. I’m just the vessel, the transportation; destination unknown.

I think the heart of music is each of us, all of our hearts combined to form many vessels, many forms of transportation, with many unknown destinations. The beauty of all that is we don’t need to understand the heart itself, we just need to feel the body that contains it. But how is that possible?

Make a playlist of 20 or 25 of your favorite songs, then share that with someone, anyone, and ask them to make one and share it with you. I’m convinced that if we do that it just might be possible to feel, to see each other again. And heal ourselves from the hatred and division that has infected us.

Here’s a playlist of 20 of my favorites in no particular order. I know it might be hard for some of you to list only 20, or maybe even two or three, but even if it’s just one song that touches you in a special way, share it here with us in a comment. And then go out and feel the bodies of music all around you.

  1. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (Bob Dylan)
  2. Slither (Mandolin Orange)
  3. Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2 (Father John Misty)
  4. Love is All (The Tallest Man On Earth)
  5. She Lit a Fire (Lord Huron)
  6. Over The Rainbow (Eva Cassidy)
  7. Red Light (The Paper Kites)
  8. Cedar Lane (First Aid Kit)
  9. Blacktop (Julien Baker)
  10. Holocene (Bon Iver)
  11. Tennessee Whiskey (Chris Stapleton)
  12. Hey Hey What Can I Do (Led Zeppelin)
  13. Hotel California (Eagles)
  14. How To Forget (Jason Isbell)
  15. Wooden Ships (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
  16. Pink Rabbits (The National)
  17. The House That Built Me (Miranda Lambert)
  18. I Can Almost See You (Hammock)
  19. Am I Going Up (All Them Witches)
  20. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe)

They leave

In the first Jurassic Park movie when the two kids are stranded in the electric car with that older man and the T-rex trying to get to them, the man runs out of the car and into what looks like an outhouse, and that is where the T-rex finds him. Shortly after the man runs out of the car the young girl screams “he left us, he left us, he left us!” That is what our kids do, they leave us, their parents, and from then on we’re left wondering when the T-rex will eat them alive!

Moms and dads can only hope and pray that what they’ve done as parents will be good enough to help protect their offspring from the tyrannosauruses they’ll surely encounter during their stay on this little Blue Dot. We can’t expect that they won’t get nipped by one a time or two, and if we’ve accomplished our jobs as moms and dads when they do get bit they’ll be able to bandage themselves without too much help from us.

I have four that are out there now building their defenses against Tyrannosauruses. So far they’ve not had to endure too many nips and bites. Yes, all four probably have a scar or two that I don’t know about, and I think that’s okay because scars tell us that we heal, eventually. Knowing that our kids have the necessary adulting skills to heal themselves when we can’t quite be there to help should give us comfort. I’m also extremely proud of my children, and if your kids are anything like mine, you should be proud of yours too.

I didn’t have the upbringing that I gave my kids, due to alcoholism my father lost touch with what it meant to be a good dad. We left home and dealt with tyrannosauruses at an age when we should’ve been dealing with first dates and high school proms. It wasn’t until after all 7 of his children left that I think my father finally came to realize how devastating his disease had become.

We leave our parents to encounter many things in life. Some of those encounters leave us enriched and excited to be out on our own. With a little luck, good bearings, and a steady course, our kids can take a left hook from T-rex and counter it with a right cross! That may leave them with a black eye but it will heal, eventually.

This blog post is dedicated to Benjamin Conner, Whitney Conner, Andrew Conner, and Meghan Conner. May they continue punching and turning away tyrannosauruses!