A few weeks ago was the 1-year anniversary of my heart attack and bypass surgery. Eight months ago, I was released from Cardiac Rehab at the hospital and began my own exercise and health habits which include working out regularly at the Y. Three days a week I do a HIIT Class (High Intensity Interval Training) and do what I can to watch my diet. I feel better than I have in years and am eager to see what the cardiologist says at my annual follow-up visit.
This morning, Jack and I cleared out a bed in the backyard. Formerly there was some kind of a giant shrub that looked dead last year, it was still brown and scraggly when everything else started blooming. When all of a sudden, it seemed like overnight, leaves and berries came in with a vengeance. Although I admired the Lazarus-like rejuvenation of the bush, it was too much – too big, too broad, just overbearing. I vowed to remove it before it came in this year. And with Jack’s help I did. We dragged the giant rooted stumps to the street and cut up the branches to burn in our patio fire pit. In the process we unearthed some cicada larvae and returned them to wait under the soil for their time to come back out. We also found a bird’s skull, it was amazing to see how light and delicate the bones are. We will show it to Paul tonight, that will be cool.
I was feeling very low last night, still tired from the last two weekends away with Teen Leadership programs for the Y. But I am aware that the death of Richie Havens has had an impact on me. I love to watch him play the guitar, especially when he uses the technique of sliding his fingers up and down the fretboard without any particular chord fingering. His raspy-sweet voice sounds wonderful especially on his cover of ”Here Comes the Sun.” With Richie we lost a great musician and a wonderful voice. I am grateful that recordings remain.
Richie died of a heart attack, and I am just a year past an attack that could have killed me. Although I miss it some days, I try to take the time to be thankful for life and the people I know and love. Today I am thankful as well for music and joy it brings to life in the world. I hope to spend more time with my guitar and learn to play better. I have set myself a goal to play and sing at the LTS talent show this summer. It will be Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” the song he wrote while he wasn’t going anywhere while he recovered from a motorcycle crash. The song has been with me since my recovery months last year, and I remember a friends’ advice to me as I was considering a change in vocation from a place where I was unhappy. He encouraged me not to die on the vine with an unsung song in my heart.