Strange Days – The Struts

The Odyssey of a Decade within a Year

The skyline has been an alien presence. Smoke, ash, and tar replaced the blues and grays that are usually dominant in my northwest skies.  I have spent my entire life in this area of the country, I have wandered much of Washington and Oregon, parts of Idaho, Montana, and California. I love the northwest and I am grieving for her.  I spent several nights sitting outside, processing my grief. I am no where near an evacuation area and have not seen a single flame with my own eyes, but I have breathed it in. I must allow this grief to teach me. I know for a fact that there are the remains of trees that allowed me to sink into them and absorb their beauty, in that smoke and ash. That is all that is left, and it is breaking me.  Letting this smoke and ash mingle around me is a way of honoring those giants who did nothing but clean up our air and provide us with timber for all manner of things. These are some of the most beautiful living beings on this planet and I am deeply saddened by their passing.

If you have not seen these forests and mountains you might not understand. These are not “things” that you can rebuild with money or legislation, they are just gone. I can never take my grandchildren to see them and absorb their love as I did. I have let them down and I have no excuse for doing that.

So many places have shared their love and magic with me. Whether it was camping or hiking among them or just walking into their midst and losing myself in their magnificent presence. I owe them so much for all the things that make me, me.  This is not like it was when Mt. St. Helens blew, I was there. This is not nature redirecting her energy. there is no way to sugar coat this, this is the result of humans raping the very thing that gives us life, we have turned a corner that we likely will never turn back from.  So I will grieve and I will walk out of this knowing that I have to do something, I have no illusions about any grandiose thing I could conjure that would change anything but even if it means voting and speaking up when I can, I will. I will never be able to look my grandkids in the eye again if I don’t.

And we go into tomorrow.

This year has honestly been a wandering decade of a year. In wandering I mean within ourselves, honestly so much has changed and nothing has changed all at once. It is strange…

Oh these are strange days
In many strange ways
A message to outer space
Send help cause we lost our way

We have lost our way; it doesn’t do any good to say otherwise. I don’t know how to reconcile the folly of my generation. I’m a boomer by a year or two. I’ve seen a few things but nothing I have seen prepared me for this. This song has been a raft that I have been floating on.

I have been a fan of The Struts since I first heard them in 2016. I love Luke Spiller, for me, he is the best rock voice since Freddy. “Strange Days” hit me hard, I was listening to this when I sat outside and mingled with the ash. On its surface, this a great rock ballad, just beautiful. But if you spin it a few times, some magic appears. There is a depth to the message here, a message to outer space may seem silly but asking for help because we have lost our way is not silly at all. Do you have a better idea?

So many of the songs I have heard The Struts sing are straightforward rock anthems, and if you are looking to escape into an anthemic afternoon of good rock and roll then I strongly suggest you explore their catalog.

“We don’t know, it’s unclear
Where we’ll be this time next year”

It feels like we found a rut, kind of like normal but not. Working and schooling from home, doing your thing as best you can but feeling alone, cause you are. This stuff we are living with is not normal, it is not even close

When has a lyric seemed more accurate? I do not recall a time in my life that I wondered where or if I will be next year. Every day I get up and groan, just like you and then I believe. I can do this for one more day. I love the reaction to joy I get when I see when one of the people who come to buy groceries receives a bit of my joy. It is a strange time to be alive, but I am alive. I am so alive…every little thing that you do goes a long long way.

It is true that it is unclear where we will be this time next year. My granddaughter and I talked recently, and she asked me about where we come from and I was honest. We came from everywhere. There is no one place that bears our banner. In some ways that may give me an advantage, but I am not sure. I remember my deep disillusionment when I was in ninth grade and learned that the US was not strictly a democracy but rather a republic. My patriotic view was shattered at that point and circumstances across the world because of what “we” did have done nothing to repair that. This does not mean I do not love my country, but it does mean I am sad for her. Structures of discriminatory behavior permeate every fiber of our nation. I still find beauty here every single day. I see beauty in the people that come though to get their groceries and I do believe things can change, but only if we all can understand just how strange this time is and just how important it is to do the work of listening and unraveling the lies and betrayals of what came before us.

Strange days, we are all strange. We are all trying to make the best of where we begin in this crazy world.

“But we don’t’ talk about it
But isn’t it good to be down here alive
Something money could never buy
It’s worth more than a million roses”

Just waking up every day and breathing are signs of hope for me. I consider it a privilege to walk this life and I am honored to have walked the odyssey of life that I have walked, and I will continue to.  I think we need to talk a lot more about how good it is to be down here, even if it feels so strange and terrible right now, take a deep breath and smile…

These are strange days in many strange ways

“When you stumble and fall get yourself off the ground
Play your favorite song and sing it out loud
Take a deep breath and in time you’ll begin to smile”

You should probably put this song on repeat… it may help you get through on more day… There is hope in this ballad. These guys wrote something that we are all feeling, and they rocked it.  Dozens of times over the last few weeks I have played this on my way to work, taking a deep breath and beginning to smile. Sometimes I do sing it our loud and sometimes I just let it bring me joy. It has helped me bring more joy to those that come in and need it. It really is good to be alive.

Listening, learning, and growing…

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