“Mr. Bojangles”

I woke this morning to a lecture from my knees, telling that although I have enjoyed photographing the homecoming sporting events ant Southern Oregon University, I had over done it. I could barely make it down the stairs this morning, glad that there is a landing midway to the bottom. Not only was I headed down the stairs but I was headed down into a depressed funk where a pity party awaited me. I could have stopped on the landing, gingerly lowering myself and spending the rest of the day there…the hour in the hot tub at the gym last night didn’t help like I thought it would. But of course this morning, as every morning the dogs need to go out or I would be spending time “mucking out the horses.”

I got Angela off to work and spent time in the shower letting the hot water beat on my knees…not a hot tub I know but a cheap substitute and I didn’t have to walk to the car to go to the gym. I came down here to the office to start my day developing the photos from the weekend and writing, still feeling down. I searched my tired pain-drained brain for something to cheer myself up. I hate going to the “There are other people worse off than you and they get through their life” lecture. Because I know that at times I am worse off than some to those other people and I am getting through my life but I DON”T want them to use that a reason or a feeling of responsibility to get through their day…because to be honest with you, at this time in a person’s personal funk…no one is really worse off than you…even if they are.

So I began to search my tired, painful, on the verge of tears, memory banks to find the sensory stimuli that, in the past, would bring me out of a state of depression. Unfortunately, everything that came to mind involved physical movement, fluid physical movement; dancing like a free spirit across my parents living room…after I had pushed the furniture against the wall of course…although the must have thought me demented, they never commented on my strange behavior…or did, but behind my back. Later my diversion of choice became running; miles and miles of “the free wind blowing through my hair” and “the road rising to meet me,” and all that. All in all this worked so well, that when she saw me going into a funk, my wife would just toss my shoes at me and tell me to hit the road…I wonder if she meant for me to run to clear my head or…?

After my knees didn’t want to take this beating anymore and refused to perform the feat at an optimum level and later even at all, I took up swimming. I got to the point where I could swim a mile in 30 minutes. Not ready for the Olympics or even prime time but almost enough to chase away the blahs…almost. I got physically fit but not mentally. So I took up weightlifting. That didn’t push the endorphins well enough but after a year I was in the best shape of my life…200lbs and solid…everywhere except in the brain…mush.

I have found that music now seems to be my “fluid movement of choice.” I have a CD of Native American flute music, combined with violins, titled Inner Voices” by Carlos Nakai, that seems to help calm my inner anxiety.

The other day I began to wonder if there are more songs that could bring a musical interlude to an otherwise hectic day. While listening to Pandora Radio streaming from the speakers of my computer I heard an oldie; “Mr. Bojangles,” originally done by Jerry Jeff Walker in 1968 and covered by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1971; a song about the life of Bill Robinson. A man who danced across the south , bringing joy and happiness to all who saw him dance…as he danced away his own tears…still grieving for his dog that he lost 20 years past…but he still danced.

I looked into the mirror this morning after I soothed my aches and pains in the shower and looked into what seemed to be the “eyes of age” took my favorite stance…here at the keyboard at my computer…shook my clothes back all around, clicked my heels and danced!

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