A Risk Worth Taking

This song got me through my final year of university… I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up in the worst of sorts and I was ready to give up on the day before I had even finished eating my breakfast. Every day was the same – wake up in time for an 8am class (I now wake up at 5am, so this hardly seems like an inconvenience to me anymore), go through the routine of class, being assigned homework, and doing homework just in time to get some more. I knew it was all towards a worthy end, but it felt useless at the time, and I always question whether or not I should have ever pursued engineering. I started playing music on my phone as a last-ditch effort to try and cheer myself up when this song came on. I lethargically cracked the eggs into the pan, slid the spring-loaded toaster down to start browning the bread, and pulled out salt and pepper – the only spices you ever need, or that I could properly use. Song after song flipped through (looking back, it probably only went through about 2-3 songs because eggs don’t take that long to cook, but when you’re downtrodden, it feels like ages). I flipped the eggs onto my plate, smattered the toast with a careless smear of butter, and stood in my little apartment kitchen to eat because I was afraid that if I sat down again, I wouldn’t have the willpower to return to my feet.

I was about halfway through my eggs when I heard it. From the first bar of guitar, thumping drums, and synth pad background, I was hooked. Something about this song just got me. It was playing the exact opposite of whatever my heart was feeling, and it was so refreshing, I ended up listening to it 3 or 4 times on repeat, head banging and singing… no, shouting along with it by the end. It said everything: hold on, if you can, be strong… it’s a risk worth taking to have a life worth living, you need to hold on.

Looking back, the true risk was staying put. It wasn’t running away with my laptop and guitar, it was trusting that there’s a purpose to all of this mundane crap.

And this is how I feel today. One week ago, I was reminded by a couple dear friends how important it is to listen to songs that once made you feel more alive than a cup of morning coffee. We sat by a bonfire in a farm field in west Michigan and blasted this song, and I instantly knew I was with people that knew my heart because, without saying a word, they made me feel the way this song makes me feel. We shouted and laughed and reminisced together, and it gave the song renewed meaning.

Today my risk is much like when I was in university. It’s trusting that I won’t be required to sit in this parasitical, soul-sucking cubicle forever. I need to hold on, if I can, be strong.

But I won’t lie, there’s something that feels wrong about all of this… It’s a risk worth taking to have a life worth living, but what if I don’t feel alive?

Risk Worth Taking

 

Sunrise (Feat. Traffic)

I don’t want to make this too obvious or unimaginative, but I do want to remind anyone willing to take time to read this how beautiful life and the mundane are.

In music, when one instrument wants to perform a solo, the rest of the band has to fall a bit into the background and create the “rhythm” so the soloist can play “lead.” I know I’ve got the problem of trying to play lead all the time, both in music and life, primarily because I like the limelight and performing, and I like it when people look at me in admiration. Please don’t think I’m narcissistic, I’m just being honest. If you’re being honest, you have done this once or twice or a million times, too.

The truth is that no matter how hard we try, occasionally we are just the rhythm section, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it makes you any less important. In fact, it’s important for there to be a solid rhythm section so the soloist has a solid foundation on which to perform a solo. Without the rhythm, there is no place for an enchanting melody. Think about how much less appealing it’d be to hear Justin Timberlake sing “Can’t Stop the Feeling” without the phat beats behind him. I mean he’s amazing, so that’s a bad example, but you get what I’m trying to say.

Today, I looked around and found the riffs that are backing me up, and I feel like I just don’t deserve the foundation I have to lead this music. I also feel like with how beautiful some of it is, I’m not meant to lead, but simply to be the rhythm that helps bring it to attention. So without further ado, here’s the song being played today, brought to you by your rhythm section, December Rose. Enjoy.

riff2

Riff #1: A Cup of Coffee. Because you can’t even start the music without coffee.

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Riff #2: A Journal.

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Riff #3: The City of Phoenix From the Top of a Parking Garage

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Riff #4: Sky Harbor Airport From the Top of a Parking Garage (Feat. Mountains)

 

And now, for the soloist:

 

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The Solo: Sunrise (Feat. Traffic)

 

Now how could I ever have the ego or audacity to think I could play a better solo than that?

 

Riff

Starlets and Shrouds

Faint

‘Tis a faint halo that hems in the moon

A reminder that it is enslaved here, too

By its own beauty, its Clair de Lune

Much like the hearts it shines to woo

 

Are we not all but silhouette

As such, ’tis only shadows we beget

The shrouds that encompass each starlet

Illuminate dreams and prayers unmet

 

Footprints on the sand, then, are soul-deep

And as I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

That, into the world, my light might seep

 

Faint

Just For Me

Just For MeHow is it that my eyes close and open without me

That I do not die in the in-between

Mayhaps I do when I forget to see

If I can’t see life then it must cease

I must be blind to the air I breathe

A sign that there’s a brighter green

That’s born from gray and aubergine

A cure for the dead: the sun rose just for me

 

Panacea

Yas, Dahling

I’ve never been one to give much of a crap about what anyone thinks of me. I’ve got my reasons, but they’re all in the past, and I wanted to at least dedicate this week to moving forward in life and not rely on reminiscing quite so much.

From what I can tell, you will make friends and lose friends based on your clothes alone, and no, I’m not being sarcastic. I’ve been in bands that wanted me to dress a certain way, and when I refuse, it’s out the door with my sorry patoot. I’ve only ever been to one club swanky enough to require being looked up and down, thoroughly judged on outward appearances alone, and allowed entrance if I passed the test. I did because I’m a heckin babe when I want to be, and I made a friend while there. It’s only because I wore the right thing that I even got in to meet that friend.

But the rest of the time, I don’t care if people like the way I look or not. I wear tall, funny-looking socks to work every day #1: to differentiate from the other earth-toned, khaki-clad engineers and #2: to keep my own personal insanity. Funny enough, even when people see them, it’s rare that I get mocked, ridiculed, or the like. I always get a “nice socks” and a chuckle. I don’t care if it’s sarcasm. I will take a compliment however it comes.

There is only one style that I do require out of my friends, otherwise I will kick them to the curb. Their heart has to be clad in honesty and love, and if it is, I think they’re pretty chill cats. Sounds super cheesy, eh? Yup, that’s the way I roll.

You see, a heart that is clad in honesty and love is like a tree in autumn. It’s red with flecks of gold and makes you grin from ear to ear, even if you’re not prepared for it. Those people almost always have eyes that seem to glow, and a smirk, at the very least. The hardest part is that it’s the beautiful things that are the most vulnerable to harsh winds, chilling temperatures, and shaken branches, if you catch my drift. That’s why I try to surround myself with like-hearts, because they’re just as good at giving the love as they are at receiving it, and they require some adoration in order to keep their beauty from falling off and littering the ground. Sometimes, they’re stripped bare, and it takes an age and a half to regrow that confidence, allow it to mature, strengthen, and feed them, and watch the confidence turn back into honesty and love so it can be on display to lighten other’s hearts around them.

I love love, and I love honesty, because when those work together, they make some of the most beautiful people in the world. Here’s a fairly good representation of the hearts I’ve been describing. You literally cannot tell me it’s not stylish, and furthermore, gorgeous:

Blushing Tree

Fashionable

Place of Thinking

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This weekend, I visited Flagstaff, AZ where I went to university. I spent time with good friends that still live in Flagstaff, and forewarned them I just wanted to relax because I’m a busybody nearly every other day of my life. It must have been difficult for them because usually when you have guests, you entertain them. I was specifically asking to not be entertained, simply to be with there with them.

My friend took me to a place I haven’t been to in years. It’s an overlook I like to call a cliff that has an extravagant view of an empty field and an urban trail. This was literally my back yard during my third year of university. I used to sit on the very tip of the precipice you can see towards the middle-left of the picture, and think. That’s where I listened to the entire album “Monsters in the Closet” by Mayday Parade when it was first released. It’s where I’d stand when I needed an adrenaline rush after hours of studying, and where I’d sit after a long day of engineering exams. I used to think about what I’d be doing after I finished school, what assignments I had due the following week that I could put off and sit there a bit longer, the beauty of the world (and women, to be frank), and imagine scenes from books I’m trying to write, using the landscape like it was something of my own invention. I once brought my brand new violin out there to practice (and I’m not sure it was the best decision I’ve ever made. No doubt I disturbed nature and someone else’s peace that day). My friend, Kellan, and I used to fly homemade remote control airplanes from the ledge that’s in the lower right part of the picture. He’d rev the motor as I gently threw the airplane off the edge, and it always soared beautifully. Even with the high winds, Kellan kept those planes as stable as a boulder on a hillside (I use that metaphor because there was always the risk of the boulder unceremoniously, yet catastrophically, crashing down the side the of the hill).

But one thing I thought about as I sat there on Saturday afternoon was the fact that I feel a longing to go back to that place my nostalgia remembers, but even if I went back, none of it would be the same. Even the landscape would have miniscule changes unobservable by the ordinary eye. That’s the beauty and downfall of memories. I am a completely different person than who I was last time I dangled my feet off of the 50-foot drop. The friends that surrounded me are completely different than they were last time we brought out a couple beers and a fifth of whiskey in the middle of the night and star gazed, dreaming about the future… The days After.

“I like to think nothing has changed,” is what I wrote when I posted the picture on social media. But it always does and it always has. Despite a few of my recent posts on here where I talk about enjoying the process of reminiscing with friends, I realized it’s not healthy to dwell on the past until your heart hurts with longing. Not too often, anyways. I guess there is also a time for that… But I’ve been steeping myself in nostalgia for the last couple weeks, and it’s no longer a good thing. If it weren’t for the fact that I lived back when that cliff was my thinking spot, I wouldn’t have the memory now. All the same, I need to remember to live now so that someday I can look back on now and think, “Man… I wish I could go back,” knowing in the back of my mind that’s not entirely true. I’m fully contented by reliving those places and moments and friends and heart breaks and reconciliations in my mind.

But you don’t ever fully go back. You live now and thank yourself later for living now.

Promise me that.

“God gave us memories so we could have roses in December.” – J. M. Barrie

The Mechanism

Coincidence

Here, inside the Mechanism, we all have our place. We are billions of data points, billions of simple machines, and together, we turn the gears inside the Pocket Watch. While one promotes Industry and causes great influx of revenue, another seeks to extricate himself of Currency. One works to feed the Mechanism, and the other to eat from It. One is the Gear, the other the Bearing, and still another, the Minute Hand.

We glide past one another in an oblivious, seemingly arbitrary motion. We are attuned only to those directly adjacent, and even then sometimes ignorant of existence beyond our own. Just beyond our own. Death and life cycles evermore around us. The world in its ephemeral Glory, shimmering.

Yet of all our ignorance… Of all our obliviousness… The most egregious Flaw… Simply by our existence within the same shared frame of reference… We are coincident to one another. And this, not by mere chance.

Coincidence

Spires

Spires in the Sky

In the beginning

There was a seed

Creator limning

Sotto Voce

 

There was reverie

For the burgeon

But the avarice

Struck the virgin

 

Scorned by the scapegrace

So she went mute

Melody discarnate

Dissonance scute

 

Crescendo the lie

Crescendo rue

But a greater song:

True Love construed

 

Singing “all for One”

And One for all

Dissonance undone

Harmony squall

 

Among disunion

In the design

Saplings in the din

‘Til rectified

 

Now they stand The Spires

Hold up the sky

Illustrating ire

Has been consigned

 

If all the trees spoke

Of only fire

They’d fear ash and smoke

Forsake their shire

 

Mighty