The imagination is a terrible thing.
I know that’s weird for an artist to say, but our capacity to be more present in our mind’s wanderings than the actual three-dimensional space we inhabit at any moment is a bit strange if you think about it. How I wish I could take Ram Dass’s mantra from the 60’s, “Be Here Now,” to heart. How bizarre that some guy I’ve never meet and never will meet living 3,000 miles away can ruin my day, but so it is. I worry about a future that exists only in my mind, however logically conceived. I mourn for a past whose victories can be cancelled out, are already cancelled out by the mere presence of a Neanderthal in the White House. And both these things take me far, far away from the present moment.
Of course, it’s simplistic to call here and now reality and our projections of what might happen pure illusion. It is precisely our capacity to project logical consequences into a future that characterizes rational thought. But it’s also true that our fear about what might happen and our worry over whether it will happen often is greater than the things themselves when and if they come to pass.
At any rate, I had three good moments today. One was drumming and dancing and moving into time the way only music can grab you and set your feet flat on the floor of reality in a present moment. Another was taking out the compost and feeling the damp earth on my bare feet and decaying food as I scraped out the bucket with my hand. I think living on a farm and getting up for the day’s chores post-election would help the balance between the here and now and anxiety about the future.
But the third moment was studying at the feet of the masters of the moment—ie, young children. When we sang some heart-wrenching songs and I delivered my little sermon at Singing Time, the kids were quiet, reflective and listening intently. But when I dismissed 1st grade, they ran whooping out the door, “It’s recess!!” Yep. While we adults are wringing our hands, the kids can be sad and worried for a moment and then immediately on to the next thing. You gotta love ‘em for that. And learn from them.
Perhaps the sweetest moment was at the beginning of Singing Time, when a first grader sat in front of me and his eyes lit up when he looked at my feet. “Hey!” he said with every ounce of 1st grade innocence and authenticity, “My Dad has those same socks!!!” The small-hearted morons of this country just opened up the Gates of Hell, but the 1st grader is much more interested in the discovery that me and his Dad share the same brand of socks.