all of us, at times, it seems as though the topography of
our lives, inner or outer, is a graveyard of dreams. Things
do not always work out as we might wish. And yet, when we
look about us, at our world or those we love, we see that
there are new beginnings happening all around us.
should be a tonic or antidote to our "graveyard of
dreams" perception. And yet, alas, how often it is
not, for many of us. The trouble is, we are not always so
eager to embrace these new beginnings, for ourselves or
others. We may not see them as a blessing. Rather, we may
feel like Job in the Bible and be tempted to feel quite
in our lives, there are those who are just beginning a new
phase, starting anew in some way, we know we should be happy,
but this is not always so. Perhaps that person is someone
we love. Perhaps this is someone we wonder if we can let
go of. Perhaps this someone seems to be the light of our
will we do at times like this? We must, of course, release
those we love to meet their new phase, to complete their
destiny. Will we be able to release them and see what is
hopeful around us?
longing for them to stay is tied to our grief. And, our
grief in general is tied to our longing over all sorts of
hurts from our past, all sorts of regrets and feelings of
desolation. This may be so, even somewhat unavoidable, as
we are human and we suffer. But can our longing and grief
propel us toward hope, and become renewed desire to jump
back into life?
often long for what is past. We grieve for what we have
lost. We want to hang on to what we do have. We have made
the best that we could out of what we have been given, and
we do not want to let go.
sometimes, we must.
we let go when we know we must? And in this letting go,
can we return to what is left with renewed purpose? Or,
can we make a new life for ourselves and embrace it? Will
we have the courage to do either of these, or is the tower
of our longing too formidable?
are questions we will all have to answer at least once,
and likely many times over in our lives, for this is the
nature of human existence. None of us can completely escape
suffering, and we are constantly faced with the choice to
choose longing, regret and sadness, or hope, purpose and
will we choose?
upon a time, a small, bookish boy lived with his father,
who owned a radio station. You could see the tower of the
station with its red light blinking on top from the highway
which roared past it in the countryside.
below the tower was a small cinderblock building which served
as the control room for the radio station. This was not
unlike many such setups for stations one might find along
many country highways in any state throughout the land.
to the control room was a small trailer. It was a modest,
but tidy little home; and it was there that the bookish
boy lived with his father.
had, of course, once been a mother. Every boy has a mother,
even if only but for a moment. The mother had been kind
and good, and had died many years ago.
bookish boy's father, had once had dreams of being a writer,
so it was no surprise that this boy was bookish, for boys
are often like their fathers. And, though his father now
often seemed sad, and had given up on many of his dreams,
the boy loved and even admired him.
since the death of the mother, the boy's father couldn't
seem to write. There just didn't seem to be the inspiration
that once had been present for him, when there was in his
life a young, sweet little son, and a loving wife and mother
to inspire him. In short, the end of his delightful, perfect
little family seemed to be the end of his Muse.
time gives, and then takes away!" the father often
thought, feeling a bit like Job from the Bible.
when he inherited the radio station, some years after the
death of his spouse, the father decided that he would try
to run it. If he could not write, perhaps he could spin
tunes, and say a few words. Perhaps the Muse might be willing
to help him at least a little, in this new task, he hoped.
a small station," he thought, as he considered the
possibility for success in this venture, "with a small
listenership- but big enough to keep the station going,
and to keep bread on the table for me and my son."
so, the father, with his literary bent, and, he hoped, his
imagination somewhat still intact, stayed at the helm of
the control room throughout the evening, musing, reading
stories and poems, and playing the songs of his youth from
the fifties into the wee hours of the morning. This was
salutary, since he was often up all night anyway, being
an indisputable night owl.
turned out that he was really rather a success at the new
task he had embraced. The station, and particularly this
unusual little evening/late night show was rather popular
with the people of the countryside, who listened faithfully
to their little radio station on the a.m. dial.
boy would sleep on the little cot in the control room, doing
his homework, and reading books from his father's extensive
library, which the two of them, for convenience, had moved
from the trailer right into the control room. The small
room was stacked from floor to ceiling with records and
books, and so both the boy and the father had all the artistic
and literary inspiration they needed, right at their fingertips.
the boy had finished his homework, eaten Spaghetti-O's (or
some such thing), read a great deal in whatever book he
was devouring (books by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Kurt
Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger or other such favorite authors),
he would listen to his father spin vinyl, spin stories,
and muse into the night. The boy would listen contentedly
from his cot to the music and words of his father which
rolled out into the airwaves from the little control room.
When he grew sleepy, he would fall asleep feeling peaceful
and happy, for he truly enjoyed this evening routine.
if he woke in the wee hours of the morning, the boy would
with just one sleepy eye open, spy his father still broadcasting
at the desk. His father would be hunched over, speaking
thoughtfully into the microphone, which he pulled quite
low and very near to him when he was working in this posture.
Or, just as often, his father's feet would be propped upon
the desk, with the microphone again adjusted to this alternate
father would work in various postures, but no matter his
position, the father was always illuminated by a small overhead
light, which cast its round little beam of golden light
upon his figure, and could, like the microphone, be adjusted
by means of a long, rather utilitarian, spring-loaded arm.
It was this image, of his father, lit by the small, round,
golden, late-night light in the darkened studio, musing
and spinning tunes, which the boy would carry with him all
of his life.
when he himself was a man, even a very old man, this boy
would see it clearly in his mind, his father in this light,
night after night. He would see it and hear the sounds of
the musings and the music- for they had been so firmly impressed
upon his mind and soul, by repetition, sentiment, love,
and admiration, that he could not forget them. They appeared
in his mind and heart as if on cue, as if they simply continued
to occur, as if time had not continued on, or did not exist
in a linear fashion.
the boy, would listen late into the night to this man, who,
it turned out, was inspired by his Muse. It seemed She had
not really deserted the father after all, but deigned to
inspire in the format of spontaneous, late-night musings
into a lonely country radio station microphone, rather than
when pen was put to paper. What a finicky and fickle little
Muse she was, yet faithful in her own way!
was as faithful, as was the certainty that this nightly
ritual would be the stuff that the father's and the boy's
life was made of. Her appearance was to be depended upon,
as was the sun's rising and setting, and the dark expansiveness
of the countryside's night sky, empty and gleaming with
twinkling stars, and cold alabaster moonlight.
2002, Michael D. Purvis