Walking Wounded

When the weather’s nice I love to sit by the river with my guitar. I have a portable amp, and when I’m sure that nobody is around I crank up the volume.

Often, I’ll transcend the time-space continuum and travel back into the past. Then I’ll get inside of the music and feel those notes ring true. And I imagine people walking in the distance stopping to listen on the wind, unsure of what they hear.

Anyways, last summer I was doing my own thing by the water. I had been playing for a few hours when I got into this groove where my spirit seemed to rise above my body. Looking back down at myself, I was blown away by my singing and playing on my song “Help Me Somebody.”

After I finished playing, I heard clapping coming from behind me. Turning around I saw a young couple standing there smiling. The guy said, “That was amazing. I’ve never heard that song before.”

“It’s an original composition,” I said.

“I got goosebumps.” The girl said. “If you don’t mind me asking, what were you thinking about?”

Usually I might just say, “the past.” But because I’ve been reading some of Herb’s posts, and some self-help books that he gave me, I’ve been analyzing the crap out of my life, so I decided to tell them the truth.

“In grade 6 when I was 12 years old, me and three friends were working on a school project after we read The Last Spike: The Great Railway by Pierre Berton.

“I came up with the idea of going down to the railroad tracks to find a spike or two, and I talked the others into it.

“I’ll always remember how the humidity just kind of hung in the air that day. And how when we came out of the woods and onto the tracks, a gentle breeze washed over me.

“Anyways, we started looking around the tracks for a spike, but couldn’t find one. And for some reason…maybe it was the heat, I don’t know, but we decided that we should check out the train bridge for spikes.

“Nobody said anything as we headed onto the bridge. I remember thinking that we would hear if a train was coming, and that we’d have plenty of time to get off the bridge.

“We all went off on our own, and into our own head space as we concentrated on finding a spike. I remember stopping to admire the sun reflecting off of the water. It was almost hypnotic as I listened to the torrential current swirl its way past the bridge.

“Then suddenly I heard a train coming down the track. Turning my head, I was surprised to see how close it was. “TRAIN,” I yelled as I ran for solid ground.

“I was the first one off the bridge, and two of the other guys were right behind me, but Gary was still on the bridge.

“Surmising the situation, I think we all realized that Gary wasn’t going to have enough time to get off the bridge.

“We all watched in horror as the train went onto the bridge honking its incredibly loud horn. At first Gary froze, but then he moved to the side of the bridge, and wrapped himself around one of the steel beams.

“I started praying in my head, but my heart was beating so loudly that I could hardly hear myself think. As the train rolled by Gary, I noticed that he had his eyes clamped shut.

“I looked towards the back of the train, but it seemed to go on forever. And when I turned back around I saw that Gary was starting to slip down the beam.

“NO”, my friend Chuck screamed, “NO.”

“Sliding down the beam, Gary lost hold of it, but instead of landing in the water, he landed on one of the huge concrete footings at the base of the bridge – upside down.

“Without hesitation I started running at top speed through the woods. I was always a fast runner, and I must have broken some kind of record that day.

“Coming out onto the road I flagged down the first car that came along and told him what had happened. There were no cell phones back then, so he drove me to the first house we saw, and they called an ambulance and the police.

“I watched as they finally reached Gary. He was still alive, but when they moved him he died because his head was almost cracked in half.

“Before that day, I would often go over to Gary’s house to visit him. His dad was always real nice to me. After the funeral I never saw his dad again, but I heard that for years after he identified Gary’s body that he couldn’t go to work, and he just sat in his chair staring off into the distance.

“Needless to say, I have always felt immeasurable guilt. I also started experimenting with drugs after that because I wanted to punish myself. Then I used them to escape. Of course now I escape into my music.”

“Wow!” the young lady said, “no wonder that song gave me goose bumps.”

Perhaps, you too are “Walking Wounded.” If so, get inside of some music and feel it. It has the power to heal.

And if you’ve lost a loved one, realize that one day you will be reunited in the next dimension of life because there really is life after death.

Vaya con dios, – The Unknown Musician.





© 2017 – 2018, Herb Norcott. All rights reserved.


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