When I was much younger, my second wife engaged in a campaign whereby I gave up all vestiges of any former life without her. That included my beloved Shetland Sheepdogs, one of the most painful experiences of my life. I didn't realize that was her effort at the time; I seriously doubt that she did either. I don't blame her. I did a great deal of 'shedding' all on my own, including getting rid of a football signed by many of the 1971 Denver Broncos. That includes Hall of Famer, Franchise Floyd Little. I miss that football, but I still have the memories of the night I got those signatures. Things come and things go, and that's just the story of my life and most others. Each tale of gain and loss is unique, and mine has its moments. Though a great deal could be written about this personal phenomenon, there is only one thing that apparently I couldn't get out of my head. When I was in high school, I got a second hand acoustic guitar. It was cheap, dirt cheap, the kind of beginner's guitar you'd get at Wally-Mart for about 35 bucks. I hauled that damned thing around with me for years. I could play a couple of chords, even performed in front of real humans with it once, along with two other well accomplished guitar players. My only real musical asset at the time was my voice, and it likely still is. That guitar got sold at a garage sale, for probably $5, I don't clearly remember. I do remember that I had to run the garage sale because the ex was hung over. That is the way things were, then.
Most anyone reading this will know that in January I lost half of my left thumb to injury and amputation. If you think this a non-sequitur, then please bear with me. A good friend described this event in a way I understand but couldn't imagine. We go through our lives finding comfort in similarity. We take our things and place them on the shelves of our lives, sometimes just so and sometimes in ways we can at least live with. Over time, the dust settles in familiar ways and all is 'normal'. We join yoga classes, eat at exotic restaurants, go on cruises and exciting vacations to pretend that everything back home isn't exactly where we put it, collecting a finer layer of dust by the time we get back to the familiar. Then something happens. A death, a loss of ability or sense, a loss of a digit, perhaps. It's like someone slammed the bottom of the shelf and everything comes back down, slightly misplaced (including the dust.) Something is gone, not coming back. The familiarity is shaken to the point where questions long left unanswered demand a response. For myself, that became an obsession. I had to get a guitar. Growing up the way I did, I tried harder than most can imagine to talk myself out of this 'foolishness'. Often, 'economic hardship' (a term rather insultingly stupid on its face) instills a will to self-denial. One buys what one needs, nothing more. And need can be bartered down to last resort. The day I went to buy my guitar, I tortured myself for hours and hours in an attempt to talk myself out of it.
About 4 weeks ago, I bought a Fender Squire and a decent Blackstar amp. Starting at ground zero, the beginning knowing nothing. I love this. I am fortunate to have a friend who has been playing for over 40 years, and teaches others to play guitar. He's a classical guitarist by trade and helped me more than I can ever express my gratitude for. I can't play enough. I don't call it 'practice' because for me it's sheer joy. I make noises that please me, and am slowly learning the Jethro Tull songs that I most want to be proficient at. There is no mystery. It will likely take me 4 years to become even passable at playing, but damned if my obsession isn't sated. I usually play 1 to 2 hours a day, and even writing this post somewhat annoys me because it's taking time away from playing the guitar. I doubt that I'll ever be able to explain how enormously this has impacted my life, and will well into whatever future I have left. I did have a bit of a clue, however. Less than 2 years ago, my beloved lost sight in her left eye. She has been obsessed with her dogs ever since. She works, she trains, she holds hope for a thing she never explored until now. Her before me, our shelves got slammed, our certainty shaken. Since we're getting a bit up there in years, it's probably time to explore and engage in the things we find unique and passionate. My next purchase, if I can talk myself into it, is a fishing kayak, I love being on the water. That's the point when we trade pain and loss for hope and exploration. We must love what we do, and hold to what we are, what we think we are. We keep smacking the bottom of the shelf because the dust shouldn't settle until it settles over us.
I likely won't be blogging much, not that I ever have this time of year. Radio silence in favor of an amp. The Montana blogs don''t need me anyway. Reptile Discordance will continue to pick petty fights concerning stuff they can't control any more and vastly less than the Intelligent discontented they pick fights with. The grand comic book shitheel Conspiro (Toke) will continue to posit the extreme and degrade any site he visits. Cowgirl will be what it was meant to be, a site to hold the line in a game it doesn't understand and likely never will. I'm gonna play guitar and continue to blog about football. I hope you all enjoy. If'n you don't, okay.