Thursday, March 11, 2010

pacing the cage

Normally, I tend to be a thoughtful kind of guy but show me a couple of gray early mornings like we've been having lately and I'm inspired to introspection.
(it's an artist thing, go figure)

A lot of years ago, Jimmy Buffett covered a song written by Bruce Cockburn called "Pacing the Cage".

". . .Sunset is an angel weeping, holding out a bloody sword.
No matter how I squint I cannot make out,
what it's pointing toward. . ."

When I first heard it, I was feeling a bit frustrated and maybe a little disillusioned with my advertising business in Philadelphia. It was just past the agency's 9th anniversary, our successes outweighed our challenges and life was good. But the thoughtful, subconscious, pain in the ass little voice in the back of my head, was saying, "life is good but it could
be better."

What the song illustrated for me was, during the time it took for my primary consciousness to catch up with my little voice, I had been pacing the cage.
(not long after that, I closed the biz and moved to Key West)

". . .I've proven who I am so many times, the magnetic strip's worn thin. And each time I was someone else,
every one was taken in. . ."

All that is 10 years ago now and you know? Life has been better. Good friends and lovers, a generally healthier lifestyle and a quiet explosion of island inspired creative energy.
Still, around the middle of last summer I started feeling scratchy, maybe a little restless and there was my little voice again, "life has been better but it could be better still."
Since then, while my conscious mind has been trying to catch up with that better idea, I catch myself pacing the cage.

". . .I never knew what you all wanted, so I gave you everything. All that I could pillage, all the spells
that I could sing. . ."

The "cage", of course, is a metaphor for the comfortable corners we paint our lives into with well worn habits
and behaviors.
And the "pacing"? That's all the planning and plotting and scheming and dreaming we put ourselves through while we're waiting for the rest of the painted floor to dry before we can make our move.

". . .Sometimes the best map will not guide you, you can't see what's round the bend. Sometimes the road leads through dark places, sometimes the darkness is your friend. . ."

No comments: