'Sing! These Are Perilous Times' :By Rick Reiley

‘Sing! These Are Perilous Times’

By Rick Reiley

These are perilous times we’re living in...to say what you think…...to express what’s on your mind…...to mention what’s happening in your life, around you. Especially to friends and family. Nothing places more burden and demand on friendships and familial connections than a difference of opinion on serious matters.

It’s an easier task when you come to your opinion from deep and comprehensive, objective study without emotion to cloud the issue. But we place so much value on emotion it sometimes gets in the way. And admit it, not many of us do the ‘deep research thing’.

DId I say easier? It’s never easy to tell your friend or family they’re as full of shit as the only outhouse at a chili festival. These are people that, rightly or wrongly, you’ve grown to love and care for.

And from their perspectives it’s just as hard to think so adversely of you. That’s why so many stay silent on the important subjects, keep their distance and just hope for the best. We all want peace…..at least among family and friends. And absent of direct conflict that’s what we have, isn’t it? Sure it’s a temporary illusion but in a matter of time we’ll all be dead and if we can avoid the conflict until then we’ll consider that a good thing won’t we?

Who’s right anyway? Well...YOU are of course! You love your friends, your family, your country, your world, your brother! If only more people thought like you the future would know no limits!

You love the president. You hate the president. You love poor people. You hate poor people. You love immigrants You hate immigrants. You are an immigrant.  

You think government is necessary. You think it’s evil. Taxes are terrible. Taxes are useful.

‘Trickle up, trickle down, soon it’ll hit your side of town’.

It’s all just a different verse with the same chorus…

‘I am right they are wrong

Learn the words and sing along…’

How did we get here? From a raggedy nation of farmers and merchants winning a revolution against the most powerful and well armed nation on earth, to the point of bickering with one another over every single thing we see from sunup to sundown? Arguing over the news? We can’t even agree on what’s news and what’s not. Is it day or night? Black or white? Arguing over the definition of freedom, law and order, the meaning of the American Dream, who’s stomping on whose rights and whether others ought to have any rights at all. We’re capable of so much more, but we are easily distracted.

If we’re depending on each other to help our grandmas across the street…...grandma is in deep trouble. And grandpa’s lost at sea.

Of course it’s not grandma and grandpa’s fault. Or is it? I don’t know any more.

But the one thing I always come back to is that music seems to be a bridge, an oasis through a great divide.  

A melody, a phrase, a sentiment, a guitar riff, a piano chord, a word, a voice in harmony…...can stop is in our tracks for a moment and somewhere inside us we can feel or imagine a better place. A better world.

This is why in these times when logic flies out the window and the world is upside down, I rely more and more on my old D-35 for comfort and friendship. I also take comfort in knowing that I am not at all alone in these comforts. All across the country, the world, others are doing the same thing. Reaching for a fresh harmony to an old song. Or an old harmony for a new one.

Sometimes the folks who run the great big wheels of the world need space to relax, roll their shoulders, limber up their minds and focus on something sublime and often incomprehensible. You know, the feeling you get when you hear Leon Russell, or Harry Nilsson sing, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ or when you hear your favorite Red Dirt Oklahoma artists do that thing they do that has come to set your soul on fire?

Remember that night she broke your heart and you wanted to drive off the bridge? But suddenly a Jimmy La Fave tune came on the radio to steer your hands back onto the open road? And you drove forward with a new attitude? That’s what we need. And music can provide it.

Sometimes this space, this room to breathe creates options that would never have had a chance to ripen otherwise.

Big shoulders need big relaxation and big relief. As do the rest of us. So why wait?

Rise up. Sing. The world has waited long enough.

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