The Evocation Series- ‘Landslide’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Fleetwood Mac- ‘Landslide’

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I can remember the view from the top. Looking down upon where I’d started from was humbling and inspiring, and before me the world spread out—an unending stretch of wonder and potential.

Climbed a mountain and I turned around,
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
‘Til the landslide brought it down.

It all went sideways fast. Then upside down. Uncertainty, and then sudden panic. It doesn’t last long, but it does stay with you. Ambition can be funny that way, especially when coupled with time and chance.

Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Then, there’s nothing more to be done. Just let it slide away, and see where you end up. The lesson can take a lifetime to come, but ultimately, it’s learned in an instant.

But time makes you bolder,
Even children get older,
And I’m getting older, too.

In the end, you’re left with whatever remains, and you’d better make the most of it. Broken or not, you will have to make do. That’s the thing about life, and about potential—it doesn’t come easy. It was never meant to.

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
Well the landslide will bring it down.

Sooner or later, we all fall down.

-Brad OH Inc.

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The Evocation Series- ‘Straight Time’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘Straight Time’

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There is a precarious balance we all must face. It’s a struggle, whether conscious or not, to maintain the equilibrium between our compulsion for virtue and our desire for self-betterment. Certainly, these are not antithetical concepts, but the world can surely make them feel so at times.

In the darkness before dinner comes,
Sometimes I can feel the itch.

We all make sacrifices. With each effort to stay on whatever path seems best, we watch other opportunities slip away. Old friends, cherished memories, lost loves—all fade into the distant past, like fog giving way to morning light, we are left to what we have chosen, and must leave the rest behind.

But you get used to anything,
Sooner or later it becomes your life.

It works, for the most part. We go along our path, and we seldom pause to question it. We stick with what works, and slowly we close the door on all those other potentials—dreams on the wind; childish, silly things.

Seems you can’t get any more than half free,
I step out onto the front porch, and suck the cold air deep inside of me.

Then, there are those other times. Suddenly, all those forgotten potentials seem like just yesterday. The knot of conviction loosens, and those old fantasies feel so close to your grasp, it would take but the smallest slip to reach out and take hold. And at what cost, exactly?

If we’re lucky, we will never know.

Got a cold mind to go tripping cross that thin line,
I’m sick of doin’ straight time.

Push it down baby, bury it deep. A mind in turmoil is quick to question its course, to debate and dissect all the small decisions which have set us upon our present heading. But a placid mind, reassured by peace and comforted by contentment, may move past this unease, and with sufficient will and wisdom, will let those fleeting moments pass.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘Nightfall’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Blind Guardian- ‘Nightfall’

 Song Link

Arda, the world in which J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth is set, was once a more beautiful and perfect place. The elves were invited West to the undying lands by the rulers of the land, the Valar, to join in the eternal bliss of the two trees. But jealousy and strife were sown by the Dark Lord Melkor, who destroyed the two trees of Valinor and set off a series of events which would leave the world forever changed.

All hope’s lost it can’t be undone

They’re wasted and gone.

Mourning, the elves sought desperately to return to the way things were, but found it impossible. Greed and pride prevented any solution, and the elves soon learned that there are some wounds too deep to heal, and that even the greatest of graces in their world were not beyond the taint of darkness.

The light she once brought in

Is gone forevermore.

But Fёanor, the king of the Noldor elves, could not accept this loss. For Melkor had also stolen the Silmarils, those three jewels created by Fёanor, which held within them the very light of the two trees. Fёanor was enraged by this transgression, and against the advice of the Valar swore a holy oath to retrieve them from Melkor at all cost.

The words of a banished king

“I swear revenge”.

This oath was unforgivable, and all the Noldor who followed Fёanor were banished forever from the undying lands of the Valar—doomed to toil eternally on their hopeless quest in the dark lands of Middle-Earth to the east. Some turned back, but others refused to see their kin march into doom unaided, and set out across the seas and ice to what fate might await them.

Never trust the northern winds

Never turn your back on friends.

What became of them? Well, they died. Over the centuries, almost to the last, they were slaughtered and watched their kingdoms burn and friends fall as the devastation of Melkor came to fruition. But their oath held them, and never could they return to the undying lands.

Nightfall

Quietly crept in and changed us all

Nightfall

Immortal land lies down in agony.

Loss can be a cruel thing indeed, and many of us in this world will see the things we hold dearest taken from us, devalued, or destroyed. But it is in these times when our faith in decency must be the most powerful. For to allow the sting of death and time to turn us away from what is good and enduring is the most painful loss of all.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘Space Oddity’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

David Bowie- ‘Space Oddity’

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The mind can be a sanctuary at times, especially when the world outside seems a dark and unwelcoming void. But like many sanctuaries, its isolation can also be suffocation, and its secrets are strange and surprising even to its own inhabitant.

It’s a terrifying balance to strike—between the darkness without and the cold serenity within. We all feel like that sometimes, and though it is an experience shared by most everyone, this makes it no less horrifying.

Check ignition,
and may God’s love be with you.

 It’s no easy task—to turn away from the chaos of the world without and face instead the calamity within. To surrender to our own uncertainty has been described as both a depressing submission and an inspiring act of faith or self-realization. Of course, neither perspective makes the deed any easier.

But to tread this line with grace is a most worthy endeavour. Despite the tribulations of the waking world, it is a thing we all must brave. But to do so with vigour and agency, we must also master our inner selves. It’s a fine line to be sure, but the potential payoff is well worth the venture.

 I’m floating in a most peculiar way,
And the stars look very different today.

 It’s a rare and wonderful thing when it’s pulled off just right. To equally know ourselves and our reality is a path tread most often by the shamans and philosophers of the world. For the rest of us, we can hope, at the least, to understand some small part of it before we go.

Darkness is as unavoidable as light, its counterpart—and it is just such a truth which might illuminate the greater realities of the world…the connections which exist within, but which can be understood only in moments of rapture, or surrender.

 Planet Earth is blue,
And there’s nothing I can do.

We all die alone, and to face this is the truest challenge and most necessary condition of being alive. Feeling hopeless, but finding contentment in that? Sometimes, there is nothing more liberating than to acknowledge our own powerlessness.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampThe following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’

 Song Link

 I started this blog in 2012, over five years ago now. At the time, I had several reasons for doing so—the undeniable trendiness of blogs in 2012 notwithstanding. First, I wanted to hone and perfect my craft, and weekly writing was good for that. Second, I wanted to establish some online presence to support my nascent writing career. The third goal was a bit less humble than the others. I wanted to change the world.

Well, there can be no doubt about it, the world has changed indeed. Even as I and many other have done our best to warn the masses of old fears and new disasters alike, the course of history has turned about once more, and again we flirt with the tired mistakes of the past.

The highway is alive tonight,
But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes.’

‘Fight the good fight’, that’s what they tell you. It falls upon every man and woman to live as the model they want for the world; to call out injustice from the dark corners it hides and to uproot hatred wherever it takes seed.

A better world has been the outstanding promise we have all waited for. From the cradle to the grave, we’ve heard the stories of good prevailing, and the reward of the righteous. No good actions are ever done for hope of reward to be sure, and yet as time draws on and the hold of decency wavers on a razor’s edge, hope itself begins to diminish.

‘Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last,
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass.
Got a one-way ticket to the promised land,
You got a hole in your belly and gun in your hand.’

It’s easy to begin wondering what it’s all for. One might close their eyes for just a moment, and find the world has grown so dim that to open them again makes little difference. It’s easy to get lost, to doubt, and to fear.

This must never stand. For the final death-knell of decency will surely be when the last decent person loses their will to fight. When common concessions like ‘good-enough’ or ‘the lesser of two evils’ become acceptable mantras for those capable of dreaming bigger and better.

‘Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy,
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries.
Where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air,
Look for me Mom I’ll be there.
Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand,
Or decent job or a helpin’ hand.
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free,
Look in their eyes Mom you’ll see me.”’

We are what we are. Further, we are when we are, and where we are. The why of it is irrelevant—we must only serve as we are able.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘Yahweh’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampThe following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and how to get involved yourself!

U2- ‘Yahweh’

 Song Link

’On my little bed I lie, heavenly father hear my cry…’

I used to recite the words as a child. I’d say them all in their proper order, send the requisite blessings to my family and loved ones, then toss in any other things I might want hand-delivered by the most gracious of deities. I thought I was pretty good at prayer.

These days, I begin to wonder.

Looking around, I think of all the things I might now pray for. Gone is the lust for material goods, and dwindling the desire for fame and fortune. As I lay me down to sleep now, I might pray for greater understanding in the world, for peace and love among humanity. Then I open my eyes and look around, and the comfort of prayer is replaced by the tremulous perception of a cold and wayward reality.

‘Always pain before a child is born.’

Daily I might weep for the lost surety of childhood, when light seemed certain to triumph. But these days are dim, and hope flickers like a candle suffocating on its own excess.

‘Still I’m waiting for the dawn.’

But I no longer feel that prayer is about asking, so perhaps I had it all wrong from the get go. If there is room to improve, it must start within, and no man can hope to change the world without first changing himself. Here, there is much that I could ask.

‘Take this mouth,
So quick to criticize.
Take this mouth,
Give it a kiss.’

So again I lay me down. I close my eyes, and wonder what to say. What can be asked at this point, for myself, for the world? Foolish is he who looks for such answers. The great people and moments that have changed the world have often come when least expected yet most needed. Grace, I suppose, is not a thing to calculate, but rather to be thankful for, and to never forget.

‘This love is like a drop in the ocean.’

I still have a lot to learn.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘This is Your Sword’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampThe following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘This is Your Sword’

Song Link

I can still feel the warmth—curled up in the nook of her leg on that old flower-upholstered couch. So too can I recall the sound of his voice as he read page after page—taking me out into that road and off toward all the adventure and wonder to follow.

I heard of elves and men, dragons and orcs. Tales of courage and valor in the face of great odds, and of the importance of doing what is right, no matter how insignificant you may feel in the grand scheme of things.

We are all important, and we can all serve our role in making the world a better place.

…this is your Sword.

They would work together in the telling, and I would sit silent in rapture—broken only on occasion to ask some question or demand some clarification.

I learned about fellowships and faith, family and friends—about hope in the face of doubt, and love in spite of loss. I remember sitting wide-eyed as mercy and kindness prevailed over cruelty and despair.

I remember deciding that they truly could.

…this is your Shield.

‘The times they are dark, darkness covers the earth
But this world’s filled with the beauty of God’s work
Hold tight to your promise, stay righteous, stay strong
For the days of miracles will come along…’

…I still remember.

-Brad OH Inc.