Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Grateful Dead as Grief Advisors

June 30

I didn’t listen to the Grateful Dead when I was growing up, too busy, I suppose, swimming in the lake or hiking through the woods. Today they speak to me of the journey of grief. (Yes, I know. Most things speak to me about grief these days.)
Micky Hart, one of the group’s drummers, was my late introduction to the Dead because he wrote about percussion instruments from around the world and I was into percussion in high school. In books and CDs he explored the different and complex rhythms that are indigenous to various cultures around the world.

The group’s singing wasn’t the best, but the instrumental playing was inspired. Much of the time the performance seemed like a long improv, with musicians picking up what the previous soloist had given them and doing something creative with it, taking it somewhere else. The songs were long, not the 3-4 minutes songs that play on the radio. They went on and on. They were an experience.
The lyrics in “The Wheel” speak of the movement of life — the wheel that keeps turning and you can’t hold on and you can’t go back.
This is like the movement of a river, always dancing, always moving on to see what happens next, completely giving itself over to the movement and passion of life.       

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