Monday, August 10, 2009

The Road Goes on Forever

In a borrowed pick-up truck, new contractor shorts, and a sturdy new pair of heavy shoes, I worked all week as a carpenter (mason actually) and whistled much of the time. It was not long before a distinct familiarity with this old persona settled in and I recognized much older, more established pieces of the man I have always been.

Perhaps these two years have been more of a crisis than a revolution after all, a flirting with dreams that never were but always could have been until I could fully grasp the pesky distractions, wrestle them down to finally put them aside. Now I have written voluminously and played lots of music with kids whose ages combined are less than my own. Having danced, perhaps it is time to return to my seat against the wall.

The project this week was to support the rooms over a garage, detach the walls and replace the cinder block foundation that was cracked and crumbling. Although it was hot, I worked in the shade. Music on the radio danced around me. The work proceeded peacefully one block at a time.

My client—a jovial man in his eighties—could not have been happier, writing out a check as soon as I presented the bill. I sauntered to the bank and celebrated over dinner Friday night with a good friend and my son.

This was so different than my company days when I begged and scrambled for the dollars to make payroll and raced to the bank where my guys were waiting, making bets on the chances their checks would be any good. From hour to half hour my day changed constantly as I adapted to the urgency of one site or another and the impossible demands needing solutions.

Did the stress of the work ruin my life at home? Or was it the other way around? By now, the complications have grown too muddied to ever understand for sure. It became clear to me that the crash and clatter of both home and business would soon kill me. Change—so apparently inevitable—was required no matter the pain on myself and others the rupture would cause. Continuing became no longer an option.

There are some who would say it was a meltdown and have chosen not to see me since. Most who know me now seem to celebrate with me the fresh air I breathe. Adventures are rampant, and somehow, returning to ride in a pick-up and see a project finished is grounding, as solid and real as the foundation I am repairing.

Not long ago I worried that, being happy, I might lose this creative surge so recently resurrected. Art comes from suffering, some say, and though I have had my share, it would be awful to think I might have to live the mixed up complications of needing pain to enjoy the thrill of creation.

But I write this tonight, sitting at the Bitter End in New York City again, having played a rocking set of new songs. I have tasted the possibility of love and am willing, even eager, to continue sipping. I have a son who is a best friend and a daughter whose boundless joy makes me so proud. As I accept projects to rebuild homes, my own life is rebuilding, discovering the balance of practicality and creativity.

The adventure continues.

Please share with your friends


Anonymous said...

Kip glad to hear you're bouncing back. With your many skills I knew you'd do well. Also glad to hear you have a good relationship with the kids.

Thinking of you. I've been there done that, go the TShirt, if you know what I mean.


Laurie said...

I think life is about rhythm. It sounds like your reaching a new rhythm of your life Kip. If you can find some joy in the creative nature of your carpentry (or masonry work in this case) I think it will energize your music and other areas of your life as well. Work is such a huge part of life. It can build you up or knock you down. Sounds like this experience was a builder for you. Keep up your music. You make the rocking world go 'round!