I am very excited to be releasing my song “If Only” on the “Noise Ordinance 4″ compilation CD and performing at the CD release party on November 23 at 4:20. As I’ve been listening to the song, which sounds amazing thanks to Sara Stovall Moone’s fiddle and the engineering of Tribe Muzic, I started thinking about what the song meant when I wrote it a dozen years ago and what it means to me now.
I wrote “If Only” in Guerneville, California while I was on the road writing The Rucksack Letters. The season was a two month stint working crush season at the Korbel winery during which I was camped out in an off season park just off of the Russian River, a miraculous time in my life, living in the woods with a motorcycle, a guitar, and a manual typewriter. It was where I wrote a majority of the songs for the one-day-to-be-produced CD “The Desolation of Angels,” another nod to Jack Kerouac, who was instrumental in getting me out there in the first place.
Blissed out on freedom, flow, and a well-used one hitter, it was a time of great contentment and satisfaction, but also of visions of things to come. At the time, there was a sniper in Washington DC and the US was gearing up for war after the attacks of 9/11, but in my little segment of the world, I was, as Joseph Campbell had instructed, joyfully participating in the sorrows of the world. There was this realization that, for as long as we have humans thinking that they are what their egos tell them there are, there will be largely unnecessary drama, conflict, and strife, but there will also be connection, understanding, and growth.
It is simple and largely unchallenging to get transfixed upon the shadows before us as darkness seeps from our government, our religions, and our communities, but there is wisdom in cultivating the quality which sees the light beyond so that we do not get absorbed into the shadows and think that it is all that life is. This world is a messy place, and it has always been so, from the time before the magma cooled and the water stopped sloshing around so much. Yet every bit of messiness serves as a glob on the pallet as the portrait of life is painted before us in the grandest piece of Art we will ever know.
With whatever we face in life, whatever Art is manifested from the Mind of God, it is congealed into a denser material form than the Light from which it emanates, thus all creation casts a shadow. If only it were not so, the entirety of the Universe would be made of Light. But if we judge not the shadow, and realize the brilliance of this game of manifestation called Reality, we can shift our perspective to have a much more enjoyable and participatory role in its development and realize that life can be, as it should, a pretty amazing experience.
If only we could all realize our power to do so.