Where Winning and Losing Become One…
When I was a teenager I felt an awakening. It was related to music and psychedelics, but it was much more. Along with millions of other kids my age, I broke free from certainty. We surrendered the solid American life we had been presented and traded it in for a life of questioning. As Ram Das put it, “(From here on out), you can know. But you can’t know that you know.”
A crack had opened between material success and happiness. We saw that our perceptions and reality were not one and the same, and that this life altogether is much more malleable, dreamlike and ephemeral than we had been led to believe.
In all the years since, we have not traded one safe haven for another. Fact is, we are all still adrift. From time to time, our confidence may be weakened and we find ourselves longing for the security of ‘knowing for sure’. But when the dust settles, we remember once again what so-called ‘certainty’ brings, the thin, shrill lives it presents. And we are determined to once again stand with the life we have chosen. The rewards, while not always visible, are present in every breath.
I was reminded of this yesterday…
Currently on tour in Colorado, I reunited with an old friend, Andy Schneidkraut. We’d studied philosophy and religion together at Colgate University. And the last time we were together was just after college when he visited me at Tim Hardin’s house in Boiceville, NY in 1973, I think. After one beer, it all felt like yesterday.
A poet and a self described ‘music addict’, Andy’s been living on a wing and a prayer ever since. In 1987 he purchased a record store in Boulder, Albums on the Hill. And, although it hasn’t been a financially profitable endeavor for many years now, he continues. Why?
Out of love for the music.
Out of a sense of a responsibility to the community.
And because dollars aren’t the only thing that make sense to him.
We got together last night for a drink and nachos and, beside enjoying the clarity of his memory (in contrast to mine), I was fascinated with the similarities of our trips. He may be staying in one place while I’ve been touring all over our dear earth, but we’re both doing what we’re doing for many of the same reasons.
Not because we know something, but because we know we don’t. We’re on a quest that is beyond capture. Beyond words.
In my mind, the name of his record store, Albums on the Hill, is reminiscent of the famous Lennon & McCartney song, Fool on the Hill. Because, my friends, that is what we’re are. Fools for love. Fools for truth. Following our path wherever it leads.
There are many metrics by which I have failed miserably in this life, sometimes in dramatic fashion. But winning and losing meet and become one on this winding path.
The bottom line for me is…I know what I’ve done with my life. And when I get to stand up with my 45 year old Guild D40 in front of an audience and help them to laugh, cry or dance into ecstasy, then I am full, I am complete and I am full of gratitude for the opportunity.
And I think I can speak for Andy (and perhaps, many of you) in this:
We would like to thank ‘all that is’ for the chance to love what we love, sending out ripples to who knows where.