Sign Makers


I have a favorite artist that I keep often buried in my CD cabinet these days to bring out only when I’m feeling particularly blue.  It’s not that she sings depressing songs.  I think in more ways than one she reminds me of myself before I was changed by circumstances beyond my control.  She reminds me of a strong, and often independent thinker who knew who she was and who she wanted to be.

Of course being reminded of that is somewhat sad when you know you are now a puddle.  Defined only by the depth of the pavement that surrounds you, ready and waiting to be stepped on at any moment.

I used to laugh a lot and be silly.  My husband was very mellow and self-conscious and he did not.  He would crack jokes under his breath and had a very dry sense of humor which I enjoyed.  But he did not enjoy mine.  Because mine usually meant being bold to come extent and perhaps getting laughed at.  Oh well….seems I’m back.

I have just returned from a trip to Europe where I had almost a complete week where I did not cry.  I did not think about how sad my life is.  I just had an adventure.  I drove with one of my best friends, up, and down, and all around the countryside.  We visited small fishing towns with pubs and had ourselves our first beers.  We met nice people, some of whom we will remain in email contact. I was able to let it go.  Let go of the sadness.  Let go of the 18 years of expectation that was ripped out from under me.  I was able to look forward and see what I wanted to be which was content, happy, outgoing, spontaeous, and I was able to do just that.

I finally made it here.  I did not think I would.  But I did have a chorus of people cheering me on.  More people than I realized.  My sisters, my friends, my co-workers, my kids.  They knew I would make it when I had great doubts.  But if I’m only at the beginning – it is a start.  And I pray to the Lord that I do not turn back now.

Now I have to make certain that I continue to define myself and don’t limit myself unnecessarily because of what I think my culture or society thinks.  It’s taken me a long roundabout way to get to her but the artist I brought up earlier is Dar Williams.  And this is the song that seems to put more poetically my circumstances at the moment.

You’re Aging Well
Words and music by Dar Williams

Why is it that as we grow older and stronger
The road signs point us adrift and make us afraid
Saying “You never can win,” “Watch your back,” “Where’s your husband?”
Oh I don’t like the signs that the signmakers made.

So I’m going to steal out with my paint and brushes
I’ll change the directions, I’ll hit every street
It’s the Tinseltown scandal, the Robin Hood vandal
She goes out and steals the King’s English
And in the morning you wake up and the signs point to you

They say
“I’m so glad that you finally made it here,”
“You thought nobody cared, but I did, I could tell,”
And “This is your year,” and “It always starts here,”
And oh-oh oh-oh-oh oh-oh, “You’re aging well.”

Well I know a woman with a collection of sticks
She could fight back the hundreds of voices she heard
And she could poke at the greed, she could fend off her need
And with anger she found she could pound every word.
But one voice got through, caught her up by surprise
It said, “Don’t hold us back we’re the story you tell,”
And no sooner than spoken, a spell had been broken
And the voices before her were trumpets and tympani
Violins, basses and woodwinds and cellos, singing

“We’re so glad that you finally made it here
You thought nobody cared, but we did, we could tell
And now you’ll dance through the days while the orchestra plays
And oh-oh oh-oh-oh oh-oh, you’re aging well….”

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