Ringo may be my favorite Beatle – but only because he’s an underdog, and I always support underdogs.
But let’s be honest here… John is really, truly my favorite.
That’s because I’ve always wanted to be like Mr. Lennon. Our birthdays are a few days (and 30 or so years) apart, and that may have something to do with it.
Lennon’s vision of peace, love, understanding and doing what you want with your life has always emboldened me, made me feel like I wasn’t alone for being this big ol’ sap with a bit of a revolutionary bent and a romantic heart the size of the Harlequin library.
In times like our current political climate, I wish John was here. I wish he could put into beautiful words and music what we’re all going through – and urge us to give peace a chance. Because, let’s face it – that’s what we should be after. We should be encouraging that in all walking facets of life, not just looking for our side to win.
But politics is not why I decided to write today.
It’s another John Lennon song that has my attention today, and it’s helped me get through some stuff in the past:
I feel like I’ve reached this point in my life. As I sit here on a fairly gorgeous fall day in my little mountain town, I’m thoroughly happy watching the birds at my feeder. All different types have made my backyard home, with a few more babies coming each day. Tiny tufted titmice, charming little chickadees, bodacious blue jays, charismatic cardinals and nutty nuthatch (they eat upside down from the feeder and kind of bob-and-weave when they fly. They’re hilarious.) New to the party are the glorious goldfinch (wearing fall brown), brown-headed cowbirds, a Carolina wren who lives in the pocket of a huge maple, and the various and sundry sparrows that dot this canvas. Oh, and of course the ever-present mourning doves, who strut around looking for seed on the ground (I wrote a short song with that exact line in it a few months ago. I’m weird, OK?)
I have other things I should be doing, but I don’t. I agonize over that. That’s a point John makes in this song –
“People say I’m lazy
Dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice
Designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
“Don’t you miss the big time boy, you’re no longer on the ball?”
That passage could be applied to many parts of my life. Don’t you miss the city? Don’t you miss the easy commute? Don’t you miss dating and grocery stores that stay open past 6 p.m.?
Not yet. (Maybe never on the dating, but alas.) But again, I’m still getting used to it, and I find myself wondering WHY I don’t miss those things. Is there something wrong with me? How can such a social person enjoy hermitude so much?
Well, how could John Lennon give everything up for Yoko? How could he walk away from the most famous band of all time?
I’m sure he agonized, just like me, and I’m sure writing “Watching The Wheels” was kind of a protest of that agony. But I know – because he’s a self-doubting, balancing-act Libra – that he did agonize.
I enjoy loud craziness. I enjoy people. But in my home, I could sit for hours just looking out a window, alone, not really thinking about anything at all.
But then the chores pile up and I call myself names.
Because I’m not listening to THIS LINE enough:
“I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go…”
I hereby would like this to serve as an attempt at “letting it go.” I would really rather not brutalize myself for enjoying my life instead of folding clothes. And as a Libra (I don’t know how much I believe in all this stuff, but I am a textbook Libra) I must balance. I must make time for folding clothes or else I will feel like a failure.
But not when there are five birds at the feeder, taking turns eating the high-quality seed I put out for them. Order. Kindness. Patience. All on winged display.
They’re so beautiful. Most of them don’t fight with each other, though I did just watch a male and female cardinal chase each other around. They just exist. I NEED to see this.
We all should. Why am I kicking myself for being lost in a moment?
John wouldn’t let me, that’s for sure.
“People asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them there’s no problem
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind
I tell them there’s no hurry…
I’m just sitting here doing time…”
Doing time. Balancing. Watching the nutty nuthatch scamper upside-down down that same tree where the wren lives. Wondering how he keeps his balance. Wondering where they nest. Hoping I see it someday, but not feeling like a failure if I don’t.
From my little writing/birdwatching nook (some folks call it a dining room, but not me!) I am decompressing. Learning, though in a different way. This is what I came out here for.
I am done agonizing over why I enjoy it.
So back to the beginning – literally. The first verse of the song would have been enough:
“People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I’m o.k. they look at me kind of strange
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game…”
Thank you, John. I’m no longer riding on the merry-go-round. At least for today. Balance and all…