Like A Rock

Stood there boldly
Sweatin’ in the sun
Felt like a million
Felt like number one
The height of summer
I’d never felt that strong
Like a rock

I was eighteen
Didn’t have a care
Working for peanuts
Not a dime to spare
But I was lean and
Solid everywhere
Like a rock

My hands were steady
My eyes were clear and bright
My walk had purpose
My steps were quick and light
And I held firmly
To what I felt was right
Like a rock

Like a rock
I was strong as I could be
Like a rock
Nothin’ ever got to me
Like a rock
I was something to see
Like a rock

And I stood arrow-straight
Unencumbered by the weight
Of all these hustlers and their schemes
I stood proud, I stood tall
High above it all
I still believed in my dreams

Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
Twenty years
I don’t know
I sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone

And sometimes late at night
Oh, when I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall
I recall

Like a rock
Standin’ arrow-straight
Like a rock
Chargin’ from the gate
Like a rock
Carryin’ the weight
Like a rock

Like a rock
The sun upon my skin
Like a rock
Hard against the wind
Like a rock
I see myself again
Like a rock
Oh, like a rock!

Like A Rock – Bob Seger

I have struggled with depression all my life, and this week strained my ability to fight off the ill effects of said problem. This week, my mother died.

My mom at 17 years old

It’s not like I didn’t realize this time was coming, I have tried to steel myself for this moment, but I still feel the powerful pull trying to drag me down into the depths of sorrow and despair. Nothing prepares you for the death of a parent even though I also buried my father not long ago. No power known to me can soothe the pain, yet I somehow find the strength to stand like a rock.

I was on a vacation deep in the woods of Maine, trying to find the peace that has eluded me for so long, when I received the call Wednesday morning that my mom had passed. She was in a nursing home in Auburn Maine, and even though we talked on the phone several times a week, I had not seen her in 2 months due to the lockdown. I think I was the last person in the family to talk to her, having spoken the night before, and that conversation was good. I got to say goodbye one last time.

We talked of the view I had on this hillside, the majestic mountains and the stately forests. All that nature provides to us if we stop and look, the peaceful sound of the wind in the trees. I know she felt it as we talked, I could feel her beside me in that moment. She died in her sleep the next morning, and if there is a god I thank him for her peaceful demise.

As I sit here, the only being that is here to comfort me has fur and four legs, and that’s OK with me. She doesn’t judge, no half hearted words of encouragement. No attempts at bolstering my spirits with humor, no awkward stories of past encounters with my mom. Just true love and support only a dog can give with no thought of reward. It’s just what I need at this moment.

Being born and dying is a part of living, something we have very little control over. But what we do in the middle is up to us. You can wallow in fear, be strapped down by insecurities and strife, or you can grab life by the neck and force it to follow your will. As much as my old enemy tries to stop me, I will stand like a rock and push back all the fears that have stood in my way. I will follow my dreams.

My dream is simple…don’t let anyone tell me how to live. If you take a careful look at your life, if you are completely honest with yourself, are you living the way you feel you should? Do you feel the satisfaction of knowing the path you have chosen is open and in front of you? I have known for a long time where I feel I must go, and yet I have been chained to a false narrative put forth by society as a whole. My American dream is not what you see in magazines, not what the media portrays on TV. My dream is freedom in it’s purist form.

Standing in places few have stood, traveling roads few have traveled, that is my goal in this life. The solitude fills me with a sense of wonder, a feeling of oneness with this world. Alone with my thoughts I revel in the feeling of being in control of my destiny. At one with nature you get a sense of how small we really are in this world, how little our life impacts all that we see. Yet above all else is a sense of where we fit in, where our place is in the grand scheme of things. We are but a cog in the wheel of life and it is up to us how we use this gift to better ourselves and contribute to the welfare of others. The choice is your own.

Like the wind that powers this windmill, the winds of life push and pull us in varying directions. Sometimes we go with the flow, sometimes we push against it. It is up to us as individuals to determine what is the right path to follow and what to avoid, where our life is headed and where it’s been. I’m trying to find that balance so when my time comes I will feel like I made the right decisions. Only time will tell if I’m right.

We cross many bridges in our lives never truly knowing if the other side is the correct path. We just cross our fingers and hope for the best. Such is human nature. I have thought about what it takes to succeed in this world, what I hope to accomplish with this gift my mother and father gave to me. When my time comes I hope I have a feeling of happiness with all I have achieved, a sense of having seen all I wished to see. I have given up on the value of material possessions in the pursuit of what really matters…life experiences. Is it the right choice?

I think my mom would approve of my decision. She also put much stock in what nature provides for us in the way of beauty and comfort, each day a blessing to be thankful for. Though she suffered with her ailments till the end, she always put up a strong face for others to gain strength by. I feel that strength even now.

I’m not ashamed to admit I am an emotional person. Strong are the human weaknesses that can warp the view of our passing, creating conflict where none should be. Hard it is to choose the way to happiness when all we see is a shallow view put forth by those who wish to control us, those who think their way is the correct path. Bucking the system is a hard road to follow, but follow I shall. You must live your life as you see fit or fail you shall.

As I look out over this landscape I feel a comfort I so need at this moment. Alone with my thoughts I revel in the solitude of my time and remember all the things my parents taught me. Strength is a skill you learn over time, the truth of ones soul is found in the trials of life. Learn from this and life will be worthy of the tempest that brought you here, control your being and you will find all that you search for.

10 thoughts on “Like A Rock

  1. So sorry for your loss John. You have some wonderful views to look over while remembering your Mom and Dad and you are who you are partly because of them, so there is always a part of them living on through you. Peace to you.

    You have some great photos here. I particularly like the silhouetted Jeep on the hill under the electricity poles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …may you also rest in the knowledge of responsibility fulfilled. Sounds like she left this life with a beautiful image in her mind painted by you. Rest easy.

      Liked by 1 person

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