Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Songs From My iPod, Part One

One of the benefits of finally crossing into the iPod universe is the opportunity to bring together music from the past and present that continues to touch, inspire and motivate me across a variety of moods. There are fitness moods, contemplative moods, writing moods, and downright "blah" moods when nothing really seems very creative or interesting. The eclectic blend of tunes I have added to date seems to offer something for each of these states of mind.

Particularly with the older songs I have downloaded, there are stories and memories attached. I have always noted how I have a knack for remembering what I was doing, thinking and feeling when a certain key song was released--especially with music from the 1980s.

One of the songs that used to be part of my long-gone vinyl album collection and now exists in digital format on this little device is "Bridge Over Troubled Water' by Simon and Garfunkel. It was a song--like many of my favorites from youth--before my time, and I first discovered it at the age of 13 while watching the HBO broadcast of the duo's free concert in Central Park.

I didn't fully know what the lyrics meant, but as I watched the passion and dedication in Garfunkel's expression while he sang I was intrigued. I pictured the lonely bridge and the uncertain, murky waters below it, much the same as when I hear the song today. I imagined the depth and quality of a relationship in which someone could put another's mind at ease. At the time I was a fairly lonely kid, really into sports, television and writing books and song lyrics.

In many ways across my life in the more than quarter-century since first experiencing this beautiful song, I have found myself longing to help others traverse the troubled currents in which they are immersed. Through writing, speaking, coaching, counseling...even while my own mind has not always been at ease, I have had an instinct to try to provide hope and insight to others. In the same regard, I have gravitated toward those people who seem to be "mind easers"--who have that special quality, that pronounced grace, that intriguing presence.

And so the song remains as powerful for me today at age 40 as it did at age 13, and I have never been able to fully shake the disease of loneliness either. The past never fully goes away from you, and so it makes sense that the same melodies continue to play that were set into motion long ago, even if more recent chords push them off the radar for a while.


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