I remember my mom singing "Blowin' in the Wind" in the shower. I was such a little girl, six, I could only respond to it at gut level. It made me really sad -- that bird that would sail the seas and never rest in the sand. And the mountain being washed away by the sea. And the cannon ball striking and not being banned. Something was going into my nervous system that was creating in me a sensitivity and compassion that would prevent me from ever settling for the mediocrity growing in society.
Still very young, twelve, I began to listen to fm stations -- hard rock, folk, and classical music. I was listening to am, but my older brother and sister scorned me, so I made the leap in a moment's notice. But I lacked the maturity and the depth that comes with time to make the switch complete. I didn't know who I was or where I was going. All I knew was that I wished I was older. It was 1968.
By the time "70" rolled around, I was catching up. I had more of the lingo down. I could smoke real cool -- I was a lot more formed than at twelve. I had a little bit of personality to rely upon. Then Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix died. The pain I felt only served to add character to my groping soul.
I was on outcast already by junior high. Nobody liked me or could take identity with me. I was the only girl with really long hair, a fringed suede jacket, a cabby cap (wool herringbone), and an army backpack with a peace symbol finely drawn on the back. I was disgusted, never fitting in with anyone -- not the greaser on the corner, or the black girls in school, or the Jewish-American princesses like I should have been. I was always somehow different. I'd listen to Dylan, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, CSN&Y, and Simon & Garfunkel. The thoughts I was beginning to muse upon were...
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met one man who was wounded with love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Come mothers and fathers throughout the land,
And don't criticize what you can't understand.
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.
Your old road is rapidly agin'.
At fifteen, I wandered the streets of the Lower East Side all hours of the morning, fearlessIy. I was the star of my own movie -- how could I ever die? I'd hitchhike to New Paltz on weekends and live in bars. I made myself a wild dancer, tough talker, an aggressive female, demanding friends and pushing my way into peoples' lives. I'd do outrageous things. I didn't care. But, inside I was just a scared and insecure little girl just wanting to be loved and wanting to know who I was.
By seventeen, I had an apartment over the Electric Circus in the East Village. I went to City College of New York in the day. I'd hitchhike to Harlem, work in Baskin-Robbins in the evening on 68th Street, and return home late. I barely slept. Weekends continued -- bars, bars, bars of every kind. Finally I got sick of learning about life in a classroom and decided to live it.
I hit the road for two years. I went everywhere and did everything. There was hardly anything I wouldn't try once. I wanted to be somebody. I came crashing into peoples' lives. But I always found this: as I walked out from myself to reach out to someone, I'd get just so far and I'd meet a big brick wall. Try as I would, I could never get over it, so I'd give up, turn around, and come back sadly to myself.
No one really wanted me. No one was willing to pay the price. Relationships didn't go very deep, and they just didn't last. From Key West to New Orleans, to San Francisco, to Washington State, from Atlanta to Massachusetts, from Nassau to Tennessee, I lived and wanted to live to the fullest.
...wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin'
I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade,
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,
I promise to go under it.
I fell in love with a man. We became inseparable. By then there was some security, some personality established. It was 1976. "Blood on the Tracks" was out. We clung to every word. The deep passion of our romance was radiated through every word Dylan uttered. It says in scripture that a cord of three strands is not easily broken. He was our third strand. It was he who pointed the scenes for us to walk through, who set the atmosphere of our every moment. He was the channel through which we could connect and relate to each other. Why? We were under a spell.
Purple clover, Queen Anne lace,
Crimson hair across your face,
You could make me cry if you don't know.
Can't remember what I was thinkin' of
You might be spoilin' me too much, love,
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.
Flowers on the hillside, bloomin' crazy,
Crickets talkin' back and forth in rhyme,
Blue river runnin' slow and lazy,
I could stay with you forever
And never realize the time.
Situations have ended sad,
Relationships have all been bad.
Mine've been like Verlaine's and Rimbaud.
But there's no way I can compare
All those scenes to this affair,
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.
Every moment we'd look at each other, sing a line and laugh with unspoken agreement. We were one. Finally we got to his concert in Gainesville, and dropped some acid. It was a beautiful day. We were really high. Kinky Friedman came out in a wild sequined cowboy get-up, blasting rock & roll. No -- was this Dylan in disguise? Did he trick us? This crashing obnoxious music -- what's going on? Did he fool us? We were appalled! But wait -- here he comes in blue jeans and a work shirt. Soft and even acoustic, clear and in command. We were reassured. As he rocked back and forth in the sweetest and gentlest rendition of "Mr. Tambourine Man," a lullaby, he had us in the palm of his hand. We were his. We were breathless. We loved him. Then he dangled us on a string, "You're gonna make me lonesome when you go." We couldn't go on without him. We needed him. What was life anymore without him!
I lovingly sketched some quick pictures of him on stage. I wanted to give him some of them, but I couldn't get through. I gave them to a bouncer to give to him -- my token of esteem, but I don't know if he ever got them.
It wasn't even what his words said, so much. It was just his spirit that came forth from him. It was fresh and vibrant and formless, filled with guts and character. It didn't fit into a mold or category. Dylan just spoke of life from every aspect, every facet, every direction. The perspective from which he rendered each subject was similar to mine, as I understood it. My love for freedom was voiced in all his works. The search I so doggedly was locked into became glorified and highlighted at every turn by the color and wit of Dylan.
Everything Dylan described, I was -- a loner, a hobo, a wanderer, a lover, a little girl. I was starving for something to fill the gaping hole in the center of my being. I clung to Dylan as a friend, as one who understood, as one who paved the road I was on with adventure, enlightenment, color, glory and electrifying thrills.
But how much more can one have lived? I could have gone further and even for longer but I didn't have to. I found what all my sincere searching had been leading me to. There was no longer a reason to go on. I found what Dylan failed to bring us to -- the direction, the answers, the true food for the starving cry.
When I first met Messiah, I prayed for Dylan every day. I had such a deep kinship to him in my heart. When I heard that he got "saved" I was ecstatic. But I knew that we were so far removed from being Christians. I knew he was close, but he needed to find what I had found -- the actual life that goes with all the words. Christianity has words, but I found the life -- the life I'd always wanted. Not only the life, but the identity and dignity and security I had suffered for nineteen years to obtain. I knew that if Dylan could just come and see this life, he'd fall in love as I had. I'm still waiting for this to happen.
As Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell sang they summed up the truth and the mystery that surrounds it well. They said, "I've looked at life from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow... it's life's illusion I recall. I really don't know life at all." The reason they didn't know life or love is that these are hidden in a very obscure place. Ask anyone! Who has found it? Has Dylan? What will he tell you?
They are hidden in a man. This man is life and is love. When people hear of the tag that people in the world call him by, they are immediately turned off. But the man is someone very obscure. Few know him for who he really is. His name is Yahshua. He is a rock that most people stumble over in all their searching. But those who are truly desperate and honest in their searching, and not just caught up in all the glory, glamor, and color of the search, can find him. He is simple, and there is a people who have this life. You can come see it lived out and be so happy.