Rabbit Hole: Days Between

Let’s hop on down the rabbit-hole of my thoughts….

Some songs just take a hold of you in a manner you can never foresee, but in looking back – you can understand. “Days Between” by the Grateful Dead is one of those songs. Yes, I’m a Dead-head. I didn’t start life that way though. I was very much into commercial and dark metal in the 1980s. Van Halen, Dokken, Ratt, Mercyful Fate, Metallica, Armored Saint, Motorhead, and many others were in my tape player. The Grateful Dead was a long way from that time frame. But as I expanded my musical taste, and started to understand the beauty of a well-played instrument, and the turning of an excellent phrase in a lyric, I eventually find my way to the Grateful Dead.

Days Between was one of the very first songs that I encountered via Phil Lesh, the bassist for the Grateful Dead. He had a downloadable version of the song on his Phil Lesh and Friends website, and I fell in love with the lyrics. And as I have grown older, I have found that the lyrics have a certain flair for parts of my own life.

Summer flies and August dies
the world grows dark and mean
Comes the shimmer of the moon
on black infested trees
the singing man is at his song
the holy on their knees
the reckless are out wrecking
the timid plead their pleas
No one knows much more of this
than anyone can see

Certainly an appropriate set of lyrics for a time such as the one we are in today. The death of Summer, moving into the cold clutches of Winter. We are seeing some of this in our current political climate, where the two candidates of the major parties are posed to take on one another in a battle of words that is seemingly already punctuated with insults. The attacks against character, ability, knowledge, and “correctness” for our current world situations are all placed into each side’s ballistas, which are aimed where such weapons can possible do the most damage.

In the end, the lyrics remind me that the moon will rise, regardless. That Bards will continue to sing their songs of hope and beauty – reminding us of what it is that makes us followers of our respective Gods, and why we tread the Paths that we do. Even in times like these, where we see disrespect for others, and the innocent cut down without a thought – in the name of one’s own internal hatred over some perceived difference.

When phantom ships with phantom sails
set to sea on phantom tides
Comes the lightning of the sun
on bright unfocused eyes
the blue of yet another day
a springtime wet with sighs
a hopeful candle lingers
in the land of lullabies
where headless horsemen vanish
with wild and lonely cries

And from Winter, eventually comes the hope of Spring, riding an unperceived tide, propelling us forward. Where the promise of the future sends the nightmares of today into the beyond. The Gods have been nudging us all to prepare for the coming storm. But behind that message concerning a coming storm, is the notation that things will change for the better. That the coming storm will provide the nourishment necessary to grow our future to a better place. That we will have to walk through our fears, through the times of injustice, so that we can help teach towards a better society. We have to face our headless horsemen on the path.

When all we ever wanted
was to learn and love and grow
Once we grew into our shoes
we told them where to go
walked halfway around the world
on promise of the glow
stood upon a mountain top
walked barefoot in the snow
gave the best we had to give
how much we’ll never know

This particular set of lyrics hits close to me. I have been on my Pagan Path since 1987. I never fully understood what I was trying to achieve or where I needed to be. I moved from Path to Path within Paganism, never finding anything that truly fit who I was. Eventually, I found my way into OBOD, where I have managed to find a Path that fits more of who I am, and provides a framework where I can learn, and love, and grow.

Polished like a golden bowl
the finest ever seen
Hearts of Summer held in trust
still tender, young and green
left on shelves collecting dust
not knowing what they mean
valentines of flesh and blood
as soft as velveteen
hoping love would not forsake
the days that lie between

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me some of the poetry that I had written on a BBS (Renaissance BBS here in Arlington, TX) because I had lamented that I had lost some of the stuff that I had written over the years. When I received it, it took me three days to get the nerve up to open the package. I was afraid of reading what I had written, because I didn’t think I would recognize it. I was correct in that assessment. Not only did I not remember writing these poems, I couldn’t remember “why”. In a way, it was frustrating to read something I had written, and not recognize it. But in another way, I had to remind myself that this was a part of my life that I had stored on a shelf. Occasionally, I would remember those times fondly, but only have a blurry memory of it. Which I still do. I remember myself as being a lot more arrogant than I am now, a lot more angry, and a lot quicker to step up for a fight over even the smallest slight. Yeah, a little overly proud. But I am sure that others may remember me in a far different vein too. After all, memories are subjective to the individual.

Yes, music is a big part of my life. Songs are constantly in the background. And every lyric holds a memory to the past. Some memories are covered in dust. Others are a polished sheen from all the attention provided to them. But each is still cherished, even if they are faded like my older faded and worn blue jeans.



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