I don’t even like folk music. I’ll listen to it . . . for a while. But life is strange, as my first album was Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and I loved it. I remember listening to Lay lady lay over and over, fantasizing a woman in my bed (remember I was 14 years old at the time – imagination was all I had).
I have seen Bob Dylan twice in concert. Once in Montreal in the early 70s in front of 18,000 fans. I remember when all the lights went out and the Bic lighters were flicked on and a sea of candle like stars was created in a cavern of hopeful expectation. I remember the smell of dope wafting through the arena. The Band was great but I couldn’t understand a word Dylan said. Nobody cared and neither did I. It was my first concert and I was taking in a happening with my musical therapist.
The second time I saw him was a dozen years ago in a smaller venue, up close and personal, and I could understand almost every word he said. It was a great concert.
But as of genre, Folk music is just not my thing. So why did I go to the Folk Festival? Tickets were free (a gift for taking a single mom’s child for a walk), we didn’t have anything else planned, the weather was warm, and I needed a break from work.
Imagine the scene; there are six secondary stages plus a main one. This is an international event with performers from all over the world. The festival is in a park which borders the beach. Across the bay are beautiful mountains and on one side I can see the city with it’s innumerable high-rises. It is a magnificent sight.
The grass is green and people of all ages mill about looking and listening for music that speaks to them. Plastic tarps and blankets litter the ground making a tapestry in front of the main stage. The early-birds have claimed their spots. We find a patch of free space, put down our chairs and make ourselves comfortable.
We have come, sort of prepared. It has been a while since our last festival and we are a little out of practice. We were lucky and found parking half-mile away, then lugged our folding chairs, backpacks and other assorted sundries to the festival grounds. We even have plastic garbage bags to put under our beach towels to keep the moisture from rising up and through our bodies chilling us during the evening. We are prepared to relax and be as comfortable as possible. There is no action on the main stage just yet so we drift to the secondary stages until the main acts begin.
This article is not about festivals, folk music, or music of any kind. It is about relationship. It is about doing something with the person I love even if it is something that I don’t particularly care for. Even she is not a folkie. But we wanted to spend time together.
I guess this is about identifying one of the things that works in our relationship. And that is taking the time to be together. It doesn’t even really matter what we are doing. As long as we are together. It may sound strange that the activity is unimportant, but it is.
We have been together long enough that we take joy in each other’s presence. Sure, I like doing activities with my wife that I find exciting; whether it is sports of some sort, or hiking in the mountains, or going to a good restaurant. However, we don’t have the exact same likes and dislikes and spending time together has a higher priority than the activity itself.
Taking time to be, and be with the one you love.
In today’s crazy world we are all so rushed there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. My “to do” list has no end. As soon as I tic off 5, 10, 20 items, there are even more just waiting to be added to the list. Reminds me of an old Chinese saying, House finish, man die. Obviously, this is not a new problem. Men have been focused on doing for a long time.
My relationship is very important to me. I work at it. I try to be conscious about what is going on for me and what is going on for my partner. I also run my own business. Actually I run a number of businesses. This makes for a very busy life. And it is easy to become focused on my work and take my wife for granted. As you can imagine, this might be a problem, especially for my wife.
It is also a problem for me because working overtime is not a healthy thing to do. Trust me. When I overextend myself with work, my health deteriorates and my sense of balance disappears. And what is worse, my relationship suffers. Taking time out not only benefits me, but also the relationship. I get connected to myself and to my wife.
In this case it was going to a folk festival. Sometimes it is just lying in bed doing nothing. I don’t usually take time to do nothing in bed, so it can be a bit anxiety producing at first, but eventually my brain relaxes, my body relaxes, and I get to move into a different state of being. Tranquility washes over me. I feel the thoughts dissipating from my brain, I feel my shoulders letting go, I feel my breath slowing down, I feel myself melting, whether in a lawn chair, on the beach, or in bed.
Once I am in this state, I am more amenable to feeling my wife and connecting with her in a different way. She likes this. Indeed, she is constantly supporting me to move into this altered state. I, of course, am constantly running around doing things. I’m a slow learner, but I do learn.
As you might imagine, folk festivals are relaxed affairs. I recommend them, even if you are not a folkie.
Photo: Pixabay Bob Dylan and Joan Baez