Monday 4 May 2020

Keep Your Eye on the Road - Ciaran Murtagh

I don't have much to say this month, not because a lot hasn't happened - it has -  but because it feels like it's all been said by many people, in many ways, many times before. 

I feel like I'm in the midway through a trans Atlantic journey on some rickety old boat, no land in sight, just the knowledge that somewhere just beyond the horizon is the place I need to be. 

Days become weeks with precious little change and everybody seems to be in a holding pattern that started six weeks ago and is now getting harder to sustain. For a few weeks we could make do and scramble to regain a semblance of normality. We could work late, work early, home school, exercise with Joe Whoeverheis and keep the car on the road. Now we're six weeks in,  with no end in sight and starting to doubt the value of the car in the first place. 

It's at times like these that we have to remember why we set out in the first place. What it is we want to achieve - not in a 'I learned the lute in Covid' kind of way, in a much more profound, 'these are my values' and I hold them true regardless of the nonsense coming at me from all angles' kind of way. 

I'm taking comfort in music and - maybe because of the boat analogy, or the fact that we've just crossed some sort of Rubicon - it's The Waterboys who are really doing it for me.  This is the Sea sums up my feelings of where we are pretty well. 

You're trying to make sense
Of something that you just can't see
Trying to make sense now
And you know you once held the key
But that was the river
And this is the sea...

But as we drift out of our depth to who knows where, it's another Waterboys song that gives me hope. Keep keeping on and don't lose sight of what you hold dear. Know where you're going, be true to yourself and no matter what distractions, turbulence and nonsense lie ahead, trust that you'll get there eventually. Somehow. 
Keep the river on your right
And the highway at your shoulder
And the front line in your sights, pioneer


Penny Dolan said...

Ciaran, bless you! Youve made the day so much better.

I have always adored the Waterboys and the "This is the Sea" song - and all those images of the surf and ocean are just resplendent! Especially seen from here, locked far inland.

And now I have to read on and see your choice of second song . . .

Penny Dolan said...

Much more complex, and good advice for when we get out there again.

Good wishes with your own at home journey!

Sue Purkiss said...

Keep sailing on...!

Andrew Preston said...

"...Running around banging your drum
Like it's 1973 ..."

I recall rather well what I was doing in 1973.
Driving buses in Glasgow. And at the end of a long shift, late at night, trudging back to my scruffy tenement bed-sit. Bloke next door was an artist. His room was his studio, paint, canvasses everwhere. Girl across the hallway working as a prostitute.
She always seemed to be in conversation with this or that bloke on the landing at the top of the stairs. I was so engrossed with my own life that I didn't realise till much later what the significance of this was. I just thought she had lots of friends.

After university, I was adrift. From friends, family, student life. But needed something that paid rent. So there I was, driving buses. After about 9 months, I was freaking out with anger and loneliness. Waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks, pulling my clothes on, dashing downstairs, outside into the winter night, walking, and walking..., till I calmed down.

I wasn't playing too many of my records then, But in among 10cc, and Frank Zappa, there was a new release ... ,

"Rise up, It's a new day, Dawning day.
Cross the Rubicon, Find another way,
Better way.
You can tell it's on the sunny side,
Just a yell (?), , be on the funny side,
and to hell with the money side,
of the day. "

Band : Home 
Album : Home (1973)
Song : Rise Up

So I did. One day I spotted an ad in a Sunday newspaper. Join the Ministry of Defence. Programming. I'd done some scientific programming at uni. Thought this job sounded preferable to skidding headlong into the back of another bus on Glasgow's Great Western Road, so went for it. 

Values. I tend to find my values when a scenario stares me in the face.
For example, driving through the countryside in Ireland, and coming across fields as far as the eye could see, stripped bare by the huge machines of Bord Na Mona. ( Peat extraction ). I'd always associated peat with Scottish crofters cottages, and digging up just what you required for your own needs.

Or rafting rapids in a jungle river, and after some miles drifting along as the river widened and flattened out, emerging into an area that had just been burned prior to logging. Smoke, and silence. Jungle life, all gone. It all seemed wrong.