A Quiet Evening With a Guitar and Ian Tyson’s “Circle Game” Comes ‘Round To Cremation…

So, I’m sitting at my computer with my guitar in my hands.  I’m learning a favorite Ian Tyson song called Circle Game and really feeling good about myself.  It’s a song about the cycles of life and the passing of time.  My hands hurt and I have that satisfying burn in my wrist from hitting the Bm chord.  (Okay, maybe not satisfying, but certainly burning).

And then, just as I’m reflecting on “burn” and this song of the moving of life, I see an old envelope on my desk that I have been ignoring.  I set my guitar back in the case and slit the thing open — it’s an offer for a pre-paid cremation.  That’s right.  A nice, cream-colored strip of paper with flowers all down the side, reminding me that now is the time to book my cremation.


Right now!

And here I thought I’d spend the evening watching a movie and picking at a sweet roll left over from some something or other.  But no.  Apparently, I’m supposed to be planning my demise.

Now, I’m certainly not afraid of death.  I mean, I’m not actively searching for it or anything, but it’s not something I lay awake at night fearing.  Nevertheless, there’s something unsettling about receiving an offer in the mail to plan my cremation.  And, yes, I understand that the good people of this company say that I am under NO obligation (they emphasized the “NO”), but still…

Anyway, I have my ideas about what happens when I leave here.  Heck, I have my ideas about what to do while I’m still here.  But as for right now?  Well, right now, I’m not sure I have a whole heckuva lotta ideas about how to plan for the exit.  I always figured it would be a conversation for my future wife and me.  We’d sit together at the table, mugs of green tea and a plate of stale cookies between us, and sort of pour over the documents and options.  Maybe we’d even have some input from some spiritual-type folks.

I don’t know.  I just never thought I would make such an important decision based on a mailer.

Do you have your plans set?  What are you going to do?  Did you have a healthy conversation with family and friends, or did you just cast your lot in with the U.S. Postal Service?

I think I’m going to go get that sweet roll and watch a good comedy.  It’s Thursday, it was a good day, and I want sweet dreams.

As for death?  Well, hopefully I’ll master that Ian Tyson’s Circle Game first.


2 responses to “A Quiet Evening With a Guitar and Ian Tyson’s “Circle Game” Comes ‘Round To Cremation…

  1. I’d rather go back to playing my guitar than think about that sort of thing.

    • @GARY: Thanks for the comment. Always nice to hear from another guitar person! Death is a weird topic. Nobody wants to think about it. But sometimes, for the sake of those we love, we don’t really have a choice. Just like that mailer I got — we are under NO obligation to consider the issue of our passing. It’s when we avoid the topic altogether that problems can begin. One of the first songs I learned was “Dust in the Wind” (of course!). When I sing the words…well…there I am “playing my guitar” and singing “about that sort of thing.” Luckily, I’m able to focus while I’m playing “Dust,” then move on to another song and another topic — such as growing up in Tyson’s “Circle Game,” rolling along on Lightfoot’s “Carefree Highway” melancholy, or marking the seasons of love with Simon and Garfunkel’s “April Come She Will.” Focus, acknowledge, discuss, then move on. Works in music. I’ve learned to do it in life, too. Oddly enough, until your recent comment, I hadn’t thought about that mailer again. Maybe I’ll play “Dust” this morning and give it three minutes of my day!

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