I Cry Too Easily

From the very first moment I heard it, Pachebel’s Canon in D reached into me and drew out tears. I cannot for the life of me understand what it is, but that music always reduces me to tears. It’s not that I associate it with any specific event or category of event; the music has no connection (in my mind) with weddings or funerals or anything of that sort. It just causes me to well up with emotion unlike anything I’ve known. If I were a religious man, I’d say the music conjures God. But it’s not that. It’s something real, something enormously moving. I decided to see if I’d written about it before. I have. Five years ago, I wrote “I always come back to this music when I need to feel that the world is beautiful.” That’s all I said. And maybe that’s all I need to say. Tonight, perhaps I need to feel the world is beautiful. I know better. It’s ugly and dangerous and lacking compassion. But it has potential.

Tonight, as my arm and elbow throb and my shoulder aches, I listen to Pachelbel and I wish I had been born in a different time, a time in which one person’s empathy and compassion mattered. “As if we mattered.” Ach, but we don’t. We matter to a precious few, but we don’t matter to most. That’s the problem. We should matter, but we don’t. And that may be the final bell that tolls. When we come to realize we’re just a mistake, an error that had potential but failed to meet it, we ought to seek out that bell and make it ring.

I’m just so tired of pain and Trump and people wallowing in self-pity because their views did not prevail.  So I listen to Pachelbel and realize the two pity-party people who’ve opted out of the experiment don’t matter. But I weep for them, too, because they’re lost and searching, too.  Some days, I wish there were a God. Or a Devil. I’d be willing to make a deal with either of them if I could erase the pain of generations and educate the uneducated about the demon they worship.

I write “stream of consciousness” stuff that makes no sense to anyone but me; I know that. But I write it because I know that, later, I’ll come back to it and it will make perfectly good sense to me. And it will be fodder for something that may, in some tiny sense, matter to someone, someday. But probably not. I have to realize, too, that my words may mean nothing to anyone but me. That’s painful, but it’s a reality we all must face. Did our lives matter? Ultimately, in the big picture, probably not. In the more focused, smaller image: maybe. A little.



About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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