Bird Droppings June 4, 2018
Teaching and or 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu
I just finished my first year of teaching retirement from high school. Thinking back my last day was rough but not quite as bad, tense and hectic as my first on September 11, 2001. I began my last day of teaching thinking back to a song one of my students chose to write about several years ago, “Live like you were dying” by Tim McGraw. A dear friend passed away a few weeks back and it is difficult to think in terms of not seeing him again. As I write today thinking more about how many friends are still around, do I want to see and talk to each, one more time.
I have been sorting through books and files and found a small inspirational book based on Tim McGraw’s song. The song came up when I had given a writing assignment to pick a favorite song, find the lyrics then explain the song. There is something about country music and lyrics and emotions that hit you.
As various music genre came forth that one song stood out among all the rest that day. Here we can argue genres and such although I did use Beyoncé and Bob Dylan in a sarcastic graphic mainly pointed at our system of measuring schools. Bob Dylan if anyone is not aware has been chosen as the greatest song writer of all time and now a Nobel Prize winner for literature. Some can argue and I got into this the other day with a fellow teacher and friend as I was picking on his heavy metal blaring after hours. I used the rock and roll hall of fame as an example and Dylan has songs covered by the greats, “Knockin on Heaven’s door” and “All along the watchtower” to name a few.
“You have to do what you love to do, not get stuck in that comfort zone of a regular job. Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it.” Lucinda Basset
“Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It’s in our hands.” Cathy Better
Searching for words midst a deluge of thought I got caught up in Tim McGraw’s words from that assignment so many years back.
“I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying. Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about” Tim McGraw
We take life so often for granted, wasting precious moments, missing bits and pieces as we go hurriedly to the next event of the day. My dear friend I had not seen since 1994 or so but we communicated regularly on Facebook. Sharing all of those years in photos and one line captions.
“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” Josh Billings
“It is not how many years we live, but rather what we do with them.” Evangeline Cory Booth
“I went Rocky Mountain climbing I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu and then I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter and I watched an eagle as it was flying and he said someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” Tim McGraw
Yesterday morning I walked out as I do so many mornings early in the day, to my right clearing the pines a great smile of a moon almost half a full moon but still a smile. The stars and always present clouds added to the effect and surrounding me that great chorus of crickets and tree frogs, it was literally over whelming. I have yet to figure how crickets in our neighborhood can harmonize. Perhaps they were singing for my friend.
“The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, and passion.” Nadia Boulanger
“On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.” Buddha
We each search and try to find the pathway that is best for us as we journey through life. How and why we go the direction we do is our choice and the attitude that we have again is our choice. As I am reading again the words from Tom McGraw’s song and listening to teenagers respond is interesting, living each day to the fullest is not just about riding a bull named Fu Manchu for 2.7 seconds or mountain climbing in the Rockies. It is more about loving deeper and speaking sweeter, it is the moments not the events, it is extracting as much as possible and giving as much as possible in each second of each day.
“I was finally the husband that most the time I wasn’t and I became a friend a friend would like to have” Tim McGraw
Again a flash back, to a phone call several years ago. It was again a few years back another incident struck me, my middle son called from college and sounded upset there was an un-easiness in his voice. A female student had killed herself in the dorm; several of his friends were peer leaders on that hall. In another situation I was informed two students I have been talking with for three years were both pregnant distant events each encompassing in its own, a life ended and lives starting. One of the girls sought me out by to tell me personally after I had heard rumors.
“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot
It has been many years since I would walk out into the pastures at night and hear the snorting of our buffalo. It is so hard to explain seeing a bull buffalo’s breath blowing across the grass in the wee hours of the morning on a cool day, or watching fireflies skirt the kudzu and sumac of our back yard. A young lady takes her life, she had a plan with a stopping point I wonder if she lived as if she were dying or was she dying so she could live? What a paradox we set in motion as we journey each day.
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outer results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“I asked him when it sank in that this might really be the real end how’s it hit you when you get that kinda news man what’d you do…….live like you were dying. Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about what’d you do with it what did you do with it” Tim McGraw
I won’t be riding bulls or skydiving but I will be smiling and I will love and I will be living each moment that I have got and hopefully set an example for the students I teach. I may make a few more day trips this summer to spend precious moments with friends. So my dear friends take a moment and truly think about it, live your moments to the fullest and please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and please be sure to give thanks for the moments namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)