Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963
Ye must welcome the phantoms that scream through the night
Take heed to the visions and presences bright Lest ye waste up your life with the weight of street In fear of the banshees ye'd happen to meet...
- "Jo'rneyman's Song," Barleyjuice
I know about the darkness. I have seen it, smelled it, tasted it. I have felt it invade me through my pores, had it envelop and encompass every river and sea and valley of me. I have been staggered as it conquers and pillages me, I have choked on the soot of its burning, and I have wept tears of ash as the hoofbeats of its raiders tear my soil and thunder up the road to batter down my gates.
There is that. There is also this:
The wind in the trees. The sun on my skin. The taste of rain. The morning light dappling the ripples on the pond. The swell and crescendo of music. The caress of a lover. The coo of a child. A long embrace. A turn of phrase, a rhyme of verse, a finely-told joke. The taste of chocolate, or whiskey, or wine. The way wildflowers look in Spring, and the leaves in Autumn, the low susurration of snow in Winter, and the cobalt blue aftermath of sunset on Summer nights.
All of these, and so much more, and everything, are electric to me. For as long as I have had memory, the world around me and within me has left me gasping in a way that beggars the word "overwhelmed." I am in a state of perpetual astonishment, because I am wired that way. I came into this world a human tuning fork, humming with the tones surrounding me entirely against my will. I cannot stop it, and would not if given the chance. Mine is wonder, and awe, and I am overtaken by it, as if the air itself is transformed into high waves breaking on the beach. I drown daily, hourly, in minutes and in seconds, I drown in moments, and smile as I sink, because it is beautiful beyond words and space and time.
There is, however, a price. That price is the darkness, bleak and cold and forbidding, and I must make room for it as I also make room for the astonishment, because it comes relentless, remorseless, and it will have its way. When it comes to hold court - and it always comes, and always will - I cling to what is simple and good in this incredibly strange life I have been gifted to live. I hold tight the basics - my wife, my daughter, my family, my friends - and furiously remember that this, too, shall pass. It always does, I tell myself.
It always has, so far.
Such is the bewilderment of bipolar depression. It is both reaper and reaver, a joyful destroyer, a Technicolor wrecking ball. With one supple hand it gives you the whole wide world that thrums against every nerve and fiber of your being, the world like diamonds dropped on a gilded plate. The other hand is a taloned fist, crusted with old blisters and older blood, and that hand takes. And takes. And takes.
Balance is all. You come to see your life as a long sine wave, all valleys and peaks, which are to be ridden out. Chronic depression has a dreadful way of transforming you into a demented walking contradiction, a deeply empathetic narcissist, at once all-embracing and self-absorbed. You are a thunderstorm, beautiful and terrible, bringing rain to cleanse and restore along with wind and lightning to destroy and scorch. You ride it out. You tame yourself. You learn. You endure.
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