Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh Where Have You Been?

Bob Dylan's "It's a hard rain's a gonna fall" has me wrapped up. The more I tune into it's rolling strums and ruminate on its lines the more Truth I find. A spring of Truth and power, inspiration and warning, the words just play again and again and sway inside my soul. Every time I hear the song I come away with something new, something I'm glad to be leaving with, something that makes me a better person. And always, and thankfully, I'm drawn to my father and the questions I hope he will ask me someday.
Oh where have you been, my blue eyed son?

The opening line takes me to the back porch where Dad and I rock back and forth in wooden rocking chairs on a warm Texas evening. The June-bugs are crawling and contented smiles light our faces, contended because we're together, contended because we've got a cold Coors in one hand and a hot Marlboro in the other. We rock in front of a glowing Mexican chimenea. He rolls his head slowly along the headrest and looks at me with soft fire lit eyes and asks...

Oh where have you been, my darling young one?

I'm not so young anymore, what with all my experiences living by myself in Japan for two years. Experiences he will never understand, experiences concepts cannot absorb and anecdotes can't communicate. My time without him. A time with myself in another world. As stories of enlightenment and pain muddle the simple truth, I take refuge in metaphor, in symbolism; the beer makes this move acceptable, even noble.

And thus I speak my visions & disappointments & heartbreaks & triumphs & elations & frustrations & longings and, to some extent, my regrets. All these I give to him in words the heart understands, or at least feels.

Silver bullet cans litter the ground around the rockers, the chimenea holds a pack worth of charred butts, the moon has finished its arc and sun's cool coming paints the sky a rich purple. My dad turns to me once more and asks the question I know he's been wanting to ask me since high school...

And what'll you do now, my blue eyed son?

I don't know what to tell him. I don't know what to answer myself.

And what'll you do now, my darling young one?

I'm a goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a fallin'.

I'll keep moving forward with my life, finding what makes me happy, just like you do. I think that's what you do anyway; you sure look happy. You sure look happy to me.

I'm learning my song dad, I'm writing my lyrics, I'm learning about myself and drawing closer to that which draws near me. I'm learning my song, a song I'll know well before I start singing...

Happy Father's Day

click for complete lyrics to 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall'


  1. Hey Justin I really enjoy your blog. Thought it was sweet of you to write about you old man. Keep up the good work. Are you coming home anytime soon???????

    Jeanie Buckner

  2. Hey Jeanie, it sure is good to hear from you. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. How's that grandson of ya'lls doing? I look forward to meeting ya'll at Gilbert's when I come home this summer.