Rags & Ribbons :: The Marks You Make

Posted: September 26, 2013 in Songs

Rags & Ribbons :: The Marks You Make
Available for stream or download via Bandcamp

Imagine being on an airplane, enroute to a vacation destination. Though you’d been on countless flights before, you’d gotten more and more nervous about flying. Maybe you’re just getting older. Maybe you’d read one too many news stories and seen too many things fall out of the sky. The person you consider your partner wasn’t there because it was a “family” trip. Things had been a little tense anyway and you thought maybe distance would be a good thing. In any case, she wasn’t there to hold your hand and reassure you that you’d both touch the ground safely.

So there you are, curled up in a ball on the tiny ass seat of the plane, trying to convince yourself the bumpy ride was because of potholes in the road and not something that could send you careening thousands of feet into the ocean when you could barely swim even if you survived the impact. You put on your headphones on to drown out the noise, and this song filters in, in all it’s harmonic angelic glory.

I’ll protect you in the corners of my mind,
You are one I won’t forget all my life.

Yes, this happened to me. And for one brief shining moment, I thought, “OMG, God is talking to me.” When you’re up there, with nothing between you and the ground but a great hulk of composite metal and the talents of your flight crew, you have to believe in something. Reality check. Was that God on my speakers? No. Could God have picked that moment in time to use music to reassure me? Hell, yes, I totally believe that.

I started to relax, let my mind drift. With my life thus relatively assured, the next thought inevitably was, “Even if I did die in that moment, or a few after, who would miss me? What have I done with my life?” My pessimistic side of course, replied with, “Nothing. You wasted your best years with nothing to show for it and now it’s too late to change and do anything else.” The song caught me there too.

So whether you’re in or out there,
And whether you do or don’t care,
You made a mark to remember,
And I hope it’s a mark you come back for.

As much as I advocate living for yourself, not for anyone else, I also think it’s tragic to live a life without leaving a mark on the world. The chances of me ever having biological children are less than 5% so I won’t be leaving a legacy that way. I’ve dabbled in a few things but never seriously cultivated some great creative talent that would produce something that would outlive me. I’ve long reconciled with the fact that my so-called attempts at art end up nothing but “mediocre copies of another man’s genius,” as put eloquently by Christian Bale’s “Teddy” in a film adaptation of Little Women.

Find your one, treasure find all you can,
I choose to wait, wait for you just where I am.

So I search- for somewhere to place myself where I can make some sort of impact. For people who might put me on the right path. For someone who understands and supports, advises and guides, and yes, knock my head a few times when I sit on the road wherever I am and throw a tantrum of epic proportions because life doesn’t go my way. For a way to make my half-forged dreams into a reality while keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground.

The marks you make,
The marks I find come alive.

I’ve been told that if you’ve made a positive difference in even one person’s life, it’s been a life worth lived. Being greedy of course, I personally want to make a lot of differences in a lot of people’s lives, to the tune of famous rock star selling out a 30K+ venue. But let’s be realistic. One person, one day at a time. Making one person smile, even on the shittiest of days, can make a world of difference for both of you. You never know what kind of marks you make. Sometimes you never will. But they will have mattered, to someone, if you take the time to make them.

We can only get so far on our own,
You don’t have to go alone so go with me.

So maybe that’s my answer. Come to think of it, I’ve known since high school. We had been asked to do an exercise on how we would want to be remembered. My answer was something like, “I want to reach out to as many people as possible, so that when I die, sure, there may be a few who will mourn deeply, but most will just recognize the name, perhaps spark a memory, and then say, ‘Yeah, I knew her. She was cool.’ ” I guess it comes down to not wanting to be alone, wherever, whenever I finally end this journey. Funny how that works.

Incidentally, I saw Rags & Ribbons a few days before I left on this trip. I had hoped they’d play this song. I’d developed an odd attachment to it in the days prior to the show. To my everlasting delight, they did play it but I learned later on that night that the song had almost been cut from their set list. Close call. I’m glad it made it. And that it was there for me when I needed it, as music often is. In any case, thanks, guys. This song has definitely made its mark on me. I take strength from it whenever I hear it. It reminds me to keep going, and that I’ll never be truly alone.



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