On Perspective, Reality & Relativity

Posted December 27, 2010 @ 12:53pm | by S. Cutshall

As a dad, as a husband, as a friend, as a person, as a human: I try to impart the best of me toward understanding of many differing things.  I think it's one of those things that we, as folks, can do that for the most part differs us from other cell-based lifeforms.

For instance:

For years I have been telling my daughter, Chloe [and from time to time, my wife, Amy] about the metaphors I have come to learn through a lot of bicycling.

Things like, "Action/Reaction... how that glorious tailwind will turn tail on you and make you pay on the way back home" or "Dividends... how that one big nasty hill that you so despise, really becomes a 'friend' when you encounter an even bigger, nastier, hill in another location on another day" or "Facing Down... how when on those many times you think you cannot do it, or would rather being doing anything but this, you come to realize that amazing sense of self-reliance & just plain old Self that comes from persevering through whatever it is that feels un-doable"... and the actual list is much, much, longer truthfully.

"A thing, or tool, or Bike, or body that isn't needing much in the way of maintenance is -after years of thinking on such things- something not really in that great of shape after all, but instead something that hasn't enjoyed Purpose & Usefulness" [I tell Chloe that one often]... or just the plain & simple: "If you use it, love it, grind on it, it will need care & attention... and if you aren't attentive to its needs, it won't be there for you when you desire it" [as basic as bike care, as complex as Love].

Just a few months back I had the chance to see a great old friend/mentor.  This guy is a legend in Jazz.  He has played, toured, recorded with names known the world over... these days he is still out there, on the road-in the studios getting it done.  Back when I was a musician, I played/recorded/gigged with him... but that was many moons past for me.  100 moons past.

Getting to see him here in Portland was a sort of amazing and odd homecoming for me.  You see, when I had last seen him it was also the time I last played with him, and it was the last & final time I played music at all, period.  2 weeks after that gig [in NYC at the Knitting Factory] Chloe was born and I quit music [and to a degree, life].  So seeing him this part October was a big deal to me... a huge deal.

Beyond the weird opening where he didn't know who I was [but once I said his name, he recognized my voice thus recognizing me] it was fantastic in all ways. 

After catching up for a bit, and then he getting reacquainted with Amy and getting to meet Chloe for the first time since he had last seen her [as a large bump in Amy's belly at that final gig in September of 1999 in NYC, and then Chloe was born 8 days later], he asked me an amazingly honest & blunt question, "Bro, gotta ask... how do you do it?  You know, the music?  The creation of it?  The creativity... don't you miss The Creativity?"

Caught completely off-guard by the question, I responded without thought or ponderance, "Lieb, yeah... well, when I ride there's much to think about, reconstruct differently, perfectly, in one's mind.  Plus, there are the little things on a base technical level."

He continued with, "How so?"

I ended with the only thought I could, "Well, it's not the same of course.  How could it be?  But, truthfully, there are parallels... things like the way you can work on cadence, or pedal stroke, you know the woodshed stuff.  And toward that beautiful, sweeping, wave you get when all cylinders click as one on the bandstand or in the studio with your brothers, well that's very much like not thinking at all during a ride where you & the bike meld into a single entity and you just flow."

He didn't buy it for a second, but he listened and considered it.

Looking back at him and his expression, I am not sure I did either. 

Of course it is very different: riding a bike and creating music on the fly... but there are similarities, if you look deep enough.

If you have to look because it's what you've been given without choice or option.

Peace & Love




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