“Why are you bothering to learn guitar?  It’s such a silly waste of time.  I mean, you’ll never get any good at it.”

What a statement.  It was all he could do to contain the disappointment.  It’s surprising, he thought, what people you call friend can sometimes say.

A few minutes into practice, he put the guitar down in frustration thinking about the question ‘why bother’.  Why bother doing anything creative?

“Let me ask you a question.  Do you remember what Aristotle said about language?”

“Vaguely.”

“He said language is sound with meaning.  What do you make of that?”

“That makes sense.”

“It seems about right to me too, until you really think it through.  Now ask yourself, which came first, the sound or the meaning?”

“Well, I guess you’d have to first create the meaning before you create the meaningful sound.”

“I think you’re right.  It’s what goes on inside the mind first that’s the prime mover behind our creative efforts.  So it may turn out that Aristotle, in a sense, had it backwards.  Language is most likely meaning with occasional sound.”

“What’s you’re point?”

“I’m answering you’re question.  Our language or ‘higher’ intelligence, however you want to describe it, gravitates towards the imaginative.  Poets, philosophers, photographers, particle physicists, Lascaux cave painters and yes, learning guitarists all do what our brains intuitively do:  liberate our most inspired thoughts.  And if you’re willing to be serious, the world needs more poets and physicists, the more the better. People should be free to create in whatever way suits their talents because it’s the essential and inextricable part of being human.”

His friend sat there deliberating, quietly. It was a risky quiet.  He knew from experience that friendships, like wayward vessels, sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly run aground.

But then the jury of one calmly stood up, walked to the kitchen and grabbed two beers.  On his way back, he picked up the guitar.

“Will you teach me how to play this thing, please?”

 

The wandering spirits of water and stone

Flow through the forest of sacred unknown

Bound to her wisdom, scattered and sown

These wandering spirits of water and stone

 

If we could fill the sky with answers

Why we heave a heavy sigh

To stars that guide us through the night

Their wisdom we deny

 

If we could fill the sea with remedy

Peaceful thoughtful free

No mindless illusions, disaster confusion

As far the eyes can see

 

If we could move us forward down the line

On the sacred path of time

Scatter our burdens to the wind

And redeem a sense of rhyme

 

The trees whisper secrets

In the silent woods

Voices of mother earth

Under ancient skies

 

The eagle descends

In the silent woods

Watcher and keeper

Lofty and wise

 

The river speak sonnets

In the silent woods

Of words left unspoken

That teach us no lies