April 27, 2012

Music...the language of the soul

They say that music can change your mood in an instant, that it can heal wounds and take you to a better place psychologically. I’ve also heard it can transport you to where you’ve been or where you want to go for that matter. Music is not prejudiced. It transcends all ages and language barriers. It can bring people together, when nothing else can.

A good buddy of mine, Deryl Dodd, once said that “music is the language of the soul”. I don’t think truer words were ever said about the subject. It lifts you up, it puts a smile on your face and in your heart. Music gets you through the hard times, it makes you think of someone you knew or would like to know. It can help mend a broken heart and help you remember that time when your heart was broken. It makes you think of lost love and those that have changed you forever, those that have made you happy and those that have made you sad.

Yes, all of that is true. Music is magical and it is an absolute in my life. I’m an amateur songwriter and wordsmith. What I mean is that I write whatever comes to me, whether it’s lyrics, poetry or prose. I feel the burning need to put those feelings into words like a smoker needs another drag off of a cigarette. Well, that might be a stretch to say needing music is a habit, but it is something that I would never, ever be able to live without.

I love all kinds of music too, from rock to pop, to classic country and classical. Honestly, there’s a place in me that sometimes needs to hear a little bit of Frank Sinatra belt out “New York, New York” or Michael Buble’ croon “I’m Feeling Good” or Vanilla Ice rap out “Ice, Ice Baby”. I gave up trying to understand my muse many years ago. Regardless what the genre’ might be, music is a part of my life that will never go away and will always remain important.

I have a list of songs in my head that I want to have played at my funeral wake, so I might reach out, grab hold of it one last time and take it with me on the second leg of my journey. But I hear the music the angels make in Heaven can’t be rivaled by any musician or entertainer here on earth. I can’t wait to find out.

There are some songs that from the instant they begin, they grab hold of me and won’t let go until the last note is eked out to the end. One of those songs is “Drift Away”, sang by the incredible Dobie Gray. That song just so happens to be my all-time favorite rock ballad. Another is the “Star Spangled Banner”. If you want to see a callous old codger reduced to a blubbering pile of goo, just put on our national anthem and the sprinklers are on, it’s over, I’m done. That song stabs me square in the heart with an overdose of pure patriotism.

Within the last year I came across a piece of music that does just that…it transports me to another place. It’s an instrumental and there are no lyrics in the entire selection. I think if someone had sang the lyrics, that it somehow might have lessened the melodic trance the beauty of the tune puts me in. It’s a magical, dreamy melody and it makes my spirit soar and I could play it over and over and over again and never tire of its magic. As a matter of fact, I’m listening to it for the fifth time as I write this blog. It’s such a good selection that I reserved a spot for it right here on The Impulsive Texan’s web page. Look for it and paste it on your blog. I promise, folks will like it.

So on this beautiful Texas spring day, I want you to go with me on a musical journey through West Texas with a song that was created by Doug Smith, a supremely talented music maker. The video, “Wyman Meinzer’s West Texas” is a true work of art, by two brilliant artists. Doug Smith created the music and Wyman Meinzer, the images. Wyman is Texas born and raised and grew up on an expansive ranch in West Texas, where he got the inspiration for the fantastic images in this video. And these are images that will make those not from Texas, understand one of the reasons why those that are from Texas hold this place so close to our hearts and souls. Check out Wyman at www.wymanmeinzer.com. If you love visual imagery and photography, you won’t be disappointed.

Click on the link below, open your ears and your eyes and let yourself go completely and see where this wonderful and important piece of visual and auditory art takes you. Happy Friday, Texas

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

April 18, 2012

I'm absolutely speechless over this...

People that know me, know that I'm never at a loss for words. And at times that can be a good thing or a bad thing. But this video has left me speechless. I've watched it, pondered it and cried over it. The situations in my life that I think are problems, are not problems at all.

This video has instantly changed my life. Forget the subtle religious overtones, this man is an inspiration no matter what the context of the video and if the "cross he has to bear" doesn't somehow effect you and make you question the problems you think you have in your life, my friend, you need to check your pulse...

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

April 16, 2012

The complex simplicity of a hay field...

I've never been a complicated man. Complicated things confuse me, so I like to keep things as I think of myself...simple. Recently my cell phone decided its life was over and I was talking to a customer service rep with my carrier on which model I should get. He kept going on and on about how the touch screen on a certain model integrated with this and how I could easily access that and the GPS on this particular model could navigate me to within ten yards of my destination. Well, I called my carrier because I couldn't get that new-fangled touch screen to respond to of all things, my touch. So I couldn't use the GPS, I couldn't access this and that, but more importantly, I couldn't make a dad-burned phone call...I like simple. Pick it up, touch REAL numbers, someone answers.

As I drive to work each day, the first three or four miles of the drive takes me on the backroads near my home and the wonders of nature and simplicity surround me. And since my home is in Texas, those backroads hold an ample supply of trees, homes, spring time wild flowers and fields. One of the fields that I drive by each day is a simple, eight or nine acre hay field. The owner mows it twice a year to take advantage of the wonderful hay that it produces.

Well it's that time of year again and as I drove by this morning, I noticed the owner had cut, dried and baled this field. He baled it in the large, round bales that require a tractor to load. Unlike the bales that I spent many a Saturday afternoon in my teenage years hoisting onto the back of a trailer, for a quarter a bale, if I was lucky. He fared only about twenty-five or thirty bales, but the number of bales isn't what fascinated me with the display. You have to "see" beyond the dozens of shades of green and the mathematical perfection of the bales circular form and the aroma that shouts out the word spring in order to see the beauty and simplicity a hay field holds for me.

Before a field is mowed, it's an ocean of waving green and light brown that dances joyfully with its partner, the wind. And when it's mowed and the bales are silent giants standing alone, I think of how the simple hay bale fits in the circle of life. It starts out as a simple seed, a small grain, very tiny in stature, but that holds a future so grand, it's hard to grasp. It is put into the ground as a promise of something to come later, like an investment. Once it is grown and harvested, the simple seed that has became a stalk and now has become a part of a hay bale, helps to continue the circle of life.

From the bale it goes to some sort of animal. It could be a cow, a horse a goat or even a Llama. Yes, we have Llama's here in Texas, lots of them as a matter of fact. It now becomes the fuel to whatever beast takes its nutrition in. And that beast, if it is one that is consumed by the third level of life, humanity, it goes on to feed many, many persons in this world. So the simple grain, that grows into a stalk of hay, that feeds the animal, that feeds the person, is a very, very simple thing, but it's short-lived life is important beyond its simplicity. And I like that.

So how did this world, to steal a line from the Shawshank Redemption, one of my all-time favorite movies, "go and get itself in a big ole' hurry" and get so complex? The Good Lord has been gracious enough to let me live in my sixth decade now and to tell the truth, I wish this old world would start going backwards.

I miss the simpleness of a home-cooked meal that mama spent the better part of two hours preparing, with simple ingredients in a simple country kitchen, because she knew that we'd all appreciate it. I miss the laid back attitude of Small Town, USA, before the days of the internet, the cell phone and twenty four hour TV. I love the un-complex design of a small block Chevy before 1975, when the first gas crunches forced the auto makers to get more economical and to make their vehicles more complex and efficient.

I recall when you could name every television show that came on, on any night of the week and what channel it aired on. Of course, there were only three channels then and only four or five hours of program time before the evening news came on and "Big Chief" signed us off just after the gruff voice asked "It's ten p.m., do you know where your children are?"

These days if you have a problem with your vehicle, it's not possible that your uncle, your dad and a few other buddies can pull it under a shade tree and over a six pack of brews, figure out the problem and get the vehicle going for the low cost of, well, a six pack of brews. You go to an auto mechanic now and before he turns the first wrench, it's $65 or more.

I look back over my short life and marvel at how far we've gone in terms of simplicity versus complexity and it's amazing if you stop and think of it. I remember as a child seeing folks in my little hometown with lifeless limbs brought on by the devastating effects of Polio. And now that horrible disease is a thing of the past without hardly a case anywhere. That sort of complexity is amazing. I remember the old wind up gas pumps you used to pump gasoline from and that you paid after the attendant pumped your gas for you. Now the gas has gone up and customer service is gone forever. And guess what? Those new fangled, whiz bang pumps ain't simple anymore. You have a touch screen, probably the same one that's on my cell phone and you have to first "pay up" or you don't "fill up". And that's astounding.

A dear friend of mine told me the story today of how she had flown a kite this weekend. She got me thinking about how long it had been since I had flown a kite. How long? Well, honestly, it's been too long. Think about that for a second. How long has it been since you took your child, or a nephew or niece or just a small child out to a park or vacant field and entertained them with the simple act of flying a kite? I know, don't answer.

Some say I'm an old soul and I tend to agree. I remember thinking as a child that I couldn't wait to grow up. I was going to set the world on fire with my ideas. And now all of those ideas have given way to the simple joy of driving by a freshly mowed hay field. Complexity is necessary today, but simplicity will always hold the key to a better world.

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

April 4, 2012

Really? I mean, REALLY??????

I've been alive for fifty-four glorious years and I've done, seen and heard about a lot of funny and weird things. But nothing could ready me for what I saw on Saturday evening.

My wife and I were going to the local drug store near our home in Cleburne, Texas. As I turn onto the road the pharmacy is on, I notice a man on a riding lawn mower coming directly toward me. I am going to be making a left into the pharmacy parking lot and so I would have to turn in his path of movement. I'm thinking, this is a residential area and he has just finished mowing a customers yard and he didn't have to room to park his truck and trailer at their house. So he must be heading back to his trailer to load it up in one of the local businesses' parking lots.

But to my surprise, he turns into the pharmacy parking lot himself. So we follow him in. He goes right up to the very last parking spot on the front row in front of the building and without a care in the world, he parks his mower, turns it off and goes into the pharmacy as we are parking.

I'm looking at my wife, who is looking at me and we're both wondering, "What in the name of chocolate fudge is going on with this guy?"

I'd heard the stories of the great George Jones, the country singer, doing the exact same thing on his mower. The story goes that he was drinking way too much and his wife took the keys to his truck so he couldn't get out on the road. So, Sir George jumps on his tractor and promptly heads to the liquor store on his John Deere to obtain his favorite spirits. I thought it was a comical and believable story, but now I know there are those out there that actually live the country songs that I hear on the radio.

I truly hope you get just as big a laugh out of this that I did as we witnessed it in person.

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...