Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Friday, March 21, 2008

One For the Road

"I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I was growing up, the road that ran by our house was much quieter than it is today. We could walk our dogs, ride our bicycles in safety knowing that we were getting fresh air and exploring the world at the same time. We could almost have laid down on the ground and gone to sleep, it was that peaceful.
My aunt was motoring near our house one day when she passed my brother, at the time about seven years old, walking in the opposite direction toward the village.
It was a thoroughly legitimate trip; the traffic was light and he had walked the road often. My aunt flew home to my mother and asked if she knew that my brother was out walking.
My mother concurred that he had been given permission but she did not know what else my aunt had witnessed.
My brother was apparently keeping the traffic at bay with his small hands. Any time a vehicle came whizzing by he stood to the side with palms outstretched as if to say, "keep back. Don't dare to hit me."
Of course my brother did not know it- but at no time was he in any real danger, given that he stepped onto the grass when something passed him. It was a vision of trust and innocence and the fervent belief that we can each control our lives.
I write for pleasure; my brother plays guitar. This week he has begun giving lessons to a man who came to my home in Ireland to install some shelves and cupboards at my mother's bequest. The fellow had always longed to play an instrument and it transpired that my brother would teach him how.
The two stories are not unconnected: hands have power, and ordinary people can indeed take charge. With words or music we might be able to keep the monsters at bay and lighten the universe of its sad and heavy load.
The pen, it has been said for more than a hundred years, is mightier than the sword. The hand that holds a pen, plays a guitar, prepares food or utilises any needed and joyful skill has the ultimate power to change the world.


Pappy said...

Very nice The. Always a pleasure to read your offerings.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

lovely post. as someone who has always found much joy in what I do with my hands, I'm drawn to the power the hands hold and love to look at people's hands and see the stories they can tell about the person.

I can just picture your brother as a wee lad walking down one of those absolutely charming irish roads - being ever careful and vigilant making sure he goes about his business safely. bless him that he is helping teach a person to play an instrument - I expect it will be a challenge to teach an adult how to play an instrument if he's never played before.

Bob G said...

thank your for your stories, TheElem - i especially appreciate your comments at One Reader. Re this post - your brother is sharing a gift that we musicians must always remember - pass it on.

Here's to your "soon to be" thaw and many hours riding or cycling for your husband -

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, Thank you. I'll tell you, I'm still thinking the poem you left on your post today.

Kimy, That's exactly how it was. I'll pass your vision onto my brother! He'll get a chuckle out of your thoughts on him. I'm sure it can't be easy to learn anything as an adult but the guy seems willing to learn.

Bob, thanks much for your words. 'Passing it on'- a great motto. I enjoy your blog too.

hele said...

What a beautiful story.

The sentence "
When I was growing up, the road that ran by our house was much quieter than it is today.", and the autumn sunshine outside, brought a rush of memories of quit roads from my childhood. I was therefore in the perfect frame of mind for the rest of your story.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

I'm very glad to hear you liked the story. I was trying to capture a certain image- sounds like I succeeded. Life is so much faster now and my road, or the ones you knew, are a symbol of changing times.
Thanks for your comment.

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