Monday, May 19, 2014

Near the start of The Road

     I love today’s information superhighway. Thanks to YouTube, I can watch clips of Classic Sesame Street and TV commercials from Saturday morning in the 70’s. I recently listened to an album using Rhapsody Music Service that I hadn’t heard in probably 40 years. Back when I was young I would put a record on and just to sit and listen to. One of the ones was a record of singing nuns harmonizing with an acoustic guitar.
     It’s astounding to hear something again after 40 years. The lyrics make a lot more sense now that I hear them right. They make more sense, but they’re not as fun. One of the songs says “Walk in love with the wind on your wing, and cover the earth with the songs you sing”. They sang about wings. I thought they were flying. I pictured these girls flying high over rocky landscapes while singing. They flew so high and far they covered the whole world.
     The song began with the lyrics, “It’s a long, long road to freedom”. I didn’t hear the word “freedom”. What I did hear made less sense. It was some kind of made-up name that sounded like it belonged to a city in a fantasy story.
     For 40 years I remembered this song and never considered it meant anything other than an epic story of a journey. It was a long quest to find this magical city and you could fly to get there if you sang enough.
     That is what my young imagination came up with. Who could blame me for liking my imaginary world better than the real one?
     I don’t know where I got the image of the landscape you could fly over while singing. Maybe I had the song in my head while on a road trip to Sedona, Arizona. Whatever the elements were, the result was nothing like a bunch of singing nuns singing spiritual songs.
     Listening to the song recently and learning the correct words brought part of me back to earth. And it also showed me something that I think may be true for a lot of children. The imagination does not always take the path of least resistance. The most reasonable assumption of what the song was about didn’t matter to me. My mind took a different path. How many other kids are presented with a reality that they don’t fully understand or perceive, so they create their own fanciful reality to suit them?
     Now that I think about it, I know it’s not just kids who do this. I just described living in denial.
     God gives us a creative imagination. Young minds can take off with it. It couldn’t have just been me. Try striking up a conversation with a 5 year-old and see.
     One last thing I may have discovered when I heard the song the other day. As I mentioned, the song begins with “It’s a long road…” The idea of a road always intrigued me and 40 years ago that may have been the beginning of that enthrallment. Maybe it was, maybe not.
     As I work each morning on my memoir I’m straining to dredge up old memories that may be relevant to the overall story I want to tell. Some of them are not relevant, but still warrant a good looking over. It’s like organizing old photos and putting them in the correct order and seeing the progression of things. Who’d have thought singing nuns would play such a role?

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