Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
–Bob Dylan, “Mr. Tambourine Man”, Bringing It All Back Home
…………………………………… December 1965. Xmas break. A mere 48 years ago, in grade 10, that I first heard the complete version of the Byrds’ hit “Mr. Tambourine Man”, which they downsized from Dylan’s original four verses. That was when I heard The Tambourine Man’s call for the very first time and my life was changed forever. Somehow, that cold late December in Winnipeg, I knew that what I most wanted was to be that free in my life–a condition that I lived and experienced often in the past half-century through love, music, writing, poetry, and in whatever freedom I have been able to eke out for myself–wonderfully rich, unique, and different from most of the conventional lives and people that I met over my adult years.
In this last verse and the others preceding of his classic song, Dylan lays out the possibilities of life for the arts-based individuals and wanna-be poets, songwriters, and musicians of my generation. He says, gloriously, that, Yes, all this joy, dream-freedom, and fulfillment are possible for the more sensitive creative souls who want to live an autonomous life via imagination’s dreams, music, and words–a rich, free inner life which is complete unto itself and answers to no one else.
Over the years, I have come back time and time again to Dylan’s beautiful, rapturous, heartfelt folk song to rediscover myself and my main life’s purpose–what I once was and still aspire to these decades later in a world hugely, forever changed. As Dylan says in a previous verse:
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade/Unto my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,/I promise to go under it.
“The readiness is all.” That is most who and what I am and have been, finally, happily. Like Dylan, just a person who long ago heard and still dances with and to The Tambourine Man on that magical beach eternally beyond time.