"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Sunday, April 22, 2012

An Ode to Hank Williams and Immortality

It's been a rough couple of days. My car went on the fritz Wednesday evening, and after $1200 worth of repairs, I got it back yesterday afternoon. Couple that with the fact that I woke up sick with a head cold on Friday morning, and you'll see why I'm less than pleased with this weekend. Getting sick sure will throw a wrench in all your plans. I'd hoped to catch up on laundry, clean the house and do some yard work this weekend. And instead my biggest accomplishment has been getting dressed in the morning.

I will say this though, being sick does afford me with plenty of thinking time. I've spent most of it sitting in front of the bunny cage, mindlessly petting Widget and Poppet, but I've also been thinking a lot about Hank Williams.

Who was Hank Williams? He was a country music star that died at 29 on January 1, 1953. On Thursday night I saw a production at the Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon called The Last Show of Hank Williams. It was a play/musical recreating the last show Hank Williams was supposed to do, but never showed for. He was discovered dead the next morning, the circumstances of which you can read by following the link above.

Anyway, you're probably wondering why I was still thinking about Hank Williams. Well, first of all, the show was really good. But secondly, it really got me thinking about mortality and how easily life can just slip away. I'm not a religious person, I don't know if I believe in God or in any kind of afterlife. Frankly, I sometimes find the idea of an afterlife to be terrifying. But I do believe that there are ways we'll all live forever. Maybe it's in the way our bodies eventually get recycled into new living things, or maybe it's in the things we leave behind.

All we really want to do is create something that lasts, something meaningful that people will remember. I think that's why a lot of people have kids. They are creating a legacy, putting all their love, all their passion, into something beautiful that can live on after they're gone. Hank Williams wanted to create music, songs that people would remember and listen to long after he was gone. It's part of the reason why I write. We all want to be immortal, and in a way, Hank Williams is. His songs are way before my time, but on Friday night I found myself tapping my toe and clapping along to the music. I found him in my thoughts days later. Hank Williams died tragically far too young, but he did attain his dream. Almost sixty years later, people are still singing his songs. And that's pretty amazing.

Perhaps it's just my head cold and the reduced amount of oxygen making its way to my brain, but those are the conclusions I've come to this weekend. Life can be surprisingly short. Despite the plans we make, life (and death) can always throw a wrench in them. So why not live for today, why not contribute things we can be proud of? Because no one actually knows what's waiting for us on the other side, the only thing we can be sure of is what we're leaving behind. What do you want to leave behind? I want to leave my writing, and a tombstone that says 'Buried Alive'. (Because who doesn't want to prank people long after they're gone?)

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