I’m sitting in the early morning darkness, snug and warm in my old Home on Wheels. It is parked beside my son’s house in Southern Arizona. In the two plus weeks we’ve owned it it has taken two trips – both to the dump station at the Circle K. We are getting to know my son’s family, including new granddaughter, Emma, in a deeper way and we are learning how to live in 200 square feet of space. The future is completely unknown, except for the images presented by various voices in my mind, some hopeful, many full of fears. Where to from here? Where is this all going?
Yesterday the wind howled down from the Huachuca Mountains all day, rocking our home and creating a restless energy within me. With 40 mph gusts shaking my room, I had the feeling that my life was anchorless and adrift on an unknown sea. I tried asking the wind what it was saying, but all I could feel was a sense of threat, as if there was a malevolent predator howling around the outside of my walls. I had a vague sense that the winds of Tao were speaking and I was having trouble listening.
As the new morning dawns I have my earphones on and am listening to Bob Dylan singing, “Blowing in the Wind.” How appropriate. Where are the answers? They are, my friend, blowing in the wind. I begin to understand the message of yesterday’s wind from the mountains, grabbing my home and shaking it to get my attention. “How many years will it take, my friend,” it is saying, “to get your full attention. To truly shake you loose from the mooring lines of culture and set the ship of your life free on its journey?”
“Listen,” it says, “You didn’t set out on this path to have a comfortable retirement. That ship sailed long ago. You’re looking for Something Real before you die. You’re looking for your own personal answers to the questions: “How many roads must you walk down before you can call yourself a man? How many times must the cannonballs fly before you refuse to light the fuses? How many times can you turn your head, and pretend that you just don’t see? How many times must you look up before you see the sky?”
Bob asked these questions decades ago and the answers remain blowing in the wind. The years since he first sang the questions have seen an urgent increase in the necessity of listening to the answers the wind carries. These answers are not carved on stone tablets or written in little black books, but they exist. The wind carries them across the seas and down the mountainsides, shaking and quaking our little houses, saying, “Listen! Your hearts know the answers but your minds are too loud.”
What do you hear when the wind blows and the questions arise? How many roads must you walk down? How many times must the cannonballs fly? How many times can you turn your head? How many deaths will it take? What answers do you hear as the wind whispers in your ears or rocks your foundations? I can’t articulate the details of the answers, but the wind playing across the strings of our hearts certainly can. Are we listening?