I was watching “How To Train Your Dragon” with my wife, Pony, and my mother-in-law, Margaret. I was sitting in the bean bag chair in the RV, with a puddle of fur named Murphy sprawled across my lap, and a glass of fine, red wine near at hand.
Earlier this afternoon, I did a show at the Horizon House Nursing Home, in Seattle. I had a great time sharing songs and stories with the 30 or so members of my audience. I sang songs that made them laugh. I sang songs that had them clapping their hands and tapping their toes. I told them the story about seeing Andres Segovia at Carnegie Hall, back in 1981. He was 86 years old, and he played the guitar beautifully. He lived to be 93 years old, and (I have been told) played guitar nearly to the day he died. More than once (several times, in fact) I have said that I should hope to live life that well.
About 7 or 8 years ago, I looked upon my life and found it good. I lived in an apartment in Arvada at the time. I was teaching guitar, teaching music classes at a community college, and playing gigs around town and in the mountains. I had a good-sized group of friends who made life very pleasant. Between work that I thoroughly enjoyed, and good friends and family, I was more than content. And I remember thinking at the time: if this is as good as life gets, I am fine with that. It’s a good life. In fact (with a nod to Frank Capra) it was a wonderful life.
Then I met Pony, and life expanded. I was more than content. I was, and am very happy. I have a wonderful, loving wife. I have three cats and a dog that, in their own manner, make me feel wanted every day. And for the last year, I have had the genuine pleasure of sharing songs and stories with wonderful people all over the country.
I confess that I have not actually read any of Joseph Campbell’s books. But I have watched a couple of the interviews he did with Bill Moyers. I believe I have some understanding of his idea of “following your bliss”. I think I am doing something like that.
I want to make it clear that I do not mean this in any way as some form of boasting, or bragging. And I know that I have made mention of this before, but I want to once again mention the musician, Steve Goodman. It is my understanding that, because of his leukemia, Steve Goodman treated every concert as if it could be his last. I don’t want to have to wait for cancer, or some other terminal illness, to understand that way of embracing life.
So it is not boasting or bragging, but simply a statement of profound gratitude. I have had the great gift and pleasure of enjoying my life. Many times, I have been able to stop and think: this is good. I do not take this for granted. Quite the opposite: I am keenly aware that I have a very fortunate life. I enjoy good health, and I am able to share the gift of music, and I have the company and love of my wife, my friends, and my furry roommates.
To Life. L’Chaim.