For the last couple of months, I’ve been studying blues on the guitar, specifically delta blues out of the deep South…blues out of poverty, disenfranchisement, rootlessness, lonesomeness in the midst of others. It’s affecting me in ways I never anticipated, resonating…
People make fun of the delta blues, because the themes are so repetitious…waking up in the morning, work, sex. But that’s the very point, consignment to a life that never changed, marking time. There is hypnotic melancholy throughout, and if my mood is right, it makes me cry. Because some days I just wake up lonesome, and stay that way all day.
Thinking on this, I remembered a seemingly trivial thing: When I was in college, I would study late into the night. And at times, I would just have to move. I’d get in my car and drive for miles in the dark, alone out on the country roads around Texas A&M, going nowhere but always moving. I’d just get restless. And I realize now that the feeling has never left me. Despite having lived in multiple states and a half-dozen countries, having traveled thousands of miles by train and plane, in a car and on foot…I still get restless.
A dozen years ago, I began walking. I literally woke up early of a morning and heard a voice say, “You need to walk.” I began almost immediately, and I’ve never stopped. Only now do I begin to understand why, and maybe to understand why I’ve never married, why I’ve always been afraid of permanence. I get restless. I get the walking blues.