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Flashlight Tag by Cliff Rhys James

I’ve seen the needle and the damage done, A little part of it in everyone. ~Neil Young In the aftermath of tragic loss, when the shuddering stops, the shock subsides, and despair sets in, many turn inward, digging deep into their interior reaches, down into the uncharted depths of hidden reservoirs they only suspect exist. Here, in coming to grips with the hard new reality, they may stagger like blinking storm survivors in search of insight ~ solace ~ a bit of understanding ~ something ~ anything. They may thrash about seeking ways to confront the sorrow that lingers in the lengthened shadows long after all the questions have been lined up like birds on a wire; long after all of the whats, whys, wheres and hows have been spoken for ~ especially when all the answers don’t amount to much. Here they wander amidst the desolation, where acceptance goes down slowly, like a jagged pill hard to swallow. We struggle at times like these, at the gateway to the unknown, where the weight of human history crashes into far greater forces because this is where we embark on the journey to recovery and meaning ~ where those

left behind strive for understanding. It’s often a long, strange trip we travel down a winding road ~ and the road seems to go on forever. But for some, this turning inward generates something more ~ something else ~ something altogether new, if not better. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, sudden bursts of inspired creativity sometimes flare up and take shape in the shattered lives of those left behind. Nature naturally abhors a vacuum. It almost demands that the emptiness left behind from the unexpected parting of a close friend or relative be backfilled with a flourish of grace or decency ~ something to honor the forever departed. The human spirit, after all, is a resilient thing, and while it can’t raise the dead, it strains to fill the void with big-souled ambitions of something new and original, earnest and good. When a young Eric Clapton’s unrequited love for a woman drove him deep into the throes of jealousy and anguish, he picked up his guitar and wrote Layla. When Neil Young, on the bumpy road to ragged glory, lost a dear friend and bandmate to the scourge of hard drugs, he picked up his guitar and wrote The Needle and the Damage Done. When Valerie and Richard


May 2016 ttimes web magazine  

May 2016 Tidewater Times

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