Monday, September 15, 2014

The Blues is Just a Cicada in Your Beer

The sound of the singing cicadas begins in the morning and grows stronger and louder as the summer sun reaches it's place, first in the noon sky, and finally again as it reaches the horizon in the west. It doesn't matter where I am when I hear them, their song instantly takes me back to Memphis.

It took a while for me to understand how it felt to have a nationality, but it took me no time at all to know what it felt like to come from a place. I realized where I was from, and the part it would play in my life, the first time I crossed the bridge over the Mississippi River into Arkansas. I sat up on my knees in the back seat of my parents' car and watched the skyline rise and fall as we disappeared into the west. 

When I left for the first time to live in another place, all I could think of was the river and the Mississippi Delta, the slow gate of the inhabitants of area code 901, the bitter idealism, the weeping of the music, and the mysticism on every street corner. 

Memphis took me in, although she was not my birth home. She raised me and sent me on my way. When I came back to her, broken and lost, she took me in, put me back together, and made me see who I was, maybe for the first time in my life. 

It was most certainly the people that colored my life in the bluff city, but we were all under the spell of her dark magic. 
A few days ago the Cicadas in Chicago stopped singing; however, they are still present. I see their shells lying along the grass in small, neatly trimmed lawns. They leave them, their old selves, behind as they continue to migrate.

Go back in time and find the shells I have left behind, those I continually leave in my wake. I don't know why, but I keep moving, running once I've found it too difficult to keep singing.

When I returned home to Memphis after learning to teach English in Europe, meeting Liam, falling in love with the world outside my home, the Cicadas were in full force, flinging their bodies into violent flights, and singing at the top of their...lungs(?).

One found its way into my beer at a house party in midtown. I was drinking someone's home brew. It was sweet and malty. Not the Cicada, the beer. The Cicada leapt from the shadows and into my beer. Just as quickly as its body landed in my beverage, it had flung itself out and on to the next Solo cup. I kept drinking the beer. My friends made that beer, which means they put their passion into it.

The times when the Blues have come into my life have seemed like little lifetimes within themselves. I feel like I'm walking down a dark tunnel, tense and certain with a twinge of doubt that the light will appear...eventually? The darkness always seems relentless, like the song of the Cicadas.

I know that it isn't. I know that life is difficult, that it doesn't really get better or easier. But I also know that I can handle it because I am stronger than even I realize...or will probably ever admit to myself. It's easier to make friends when I'm weak than it is to keep them. I can chase everyone I know away in a matter of minutes when that particular bad dream shows its face (The Blues...stay with me, guys). The ones that don't run are infinitely amazing to me. The ones that stay with me and hold my hand when I am THE WORST at holding hands, those are the people I hope I never lose.

I know I can't keep flinging my body from one beer to the next; thus, as I continue my travels, I have stopped running home. I would love to return more than I can say, but I will never rise from the ashes if I keep packing them up and dragging them to Memphis with me. I know that phoenix metaphor is pretty dramatic, and I'm a little embarrassed about it, but it sounds kinda cool too, and I don't want to be afraid of the overly sentimental if it gets the point across...or someone.

I'm in a tough spot right now, but I'm not alone, and despite my urge to continue to run, I've got to stay here and finish this beer. I'm pretty sure my friends made it, which means...

Oh, HI!

1 comment:

Dan Harper said...

Memphis (and IEI) still loves you.