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Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!

May 24, 2011

This imaginative guest post by Ron Wells celebrates the birthday of Bob Dylan. Hard to believe Dylan’s 70.

Robert Allen Zimmerman. In the beginning, or so they tell me……

On May 24, 1941, there was thunder on the mountain, lightning beyond the horizon, and a hard rain began to fall while a million miles away from Duluth, Minnesota, a mail train came roaring down from the sky as it sped to Earth past desolation row, past Mr. Jones, who knew something was happening, but he didn’t know what it was, carrying a boxcar full of spirits both now and forevermore. Everyone needed to lookout, for the saints were coming’ through. On board sat a young Robert Allen Zimmerman. a babe from the Highlands, sitting cross legged strumming a guitar, “call me Bob Dylan” he told the spirit gods with an enigmatic grin.

“Well, Bob Dylan,” said a wandering troubadour, “you can call me Woody, “ and gesturing outside, he smiled and said, “This land is your land, from California to the New York island.”

A hearty laugh from a powerful black woman, was followed by, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hounddog puppy,” and her eyes told him it was Big Mama, Big Spirit, big time blues belter.

“Excuse me, but this is my stop,” mumbled Jack, as he then leaped into the void with a flask in his back pocket, his words landin’ on the asphalt below, “’Cause I’m on the road, maybe Highway 61.”

A Buddha-like Allen howled with delight and pain, and then a French poet, translated into the original English, said, “Only divine love bestows the keys to knowledge.”

Young Bob didn’t think twice, as the ghostly aberrations disappeared from the train, their words like chimes of freedom, like guideposts in the night.

Maybe it was just a simple twist of fate, but from that other-worldly beginning, Bob roamed across the land and around the Earth. Soon he could be seen dancing the fandango in Juarez with Magdalena, and at Easter time too, bringing words and music and wisdom to adoring fans and the curious too.

He met many women, and Isis, a mystical child, said, “You gonna stay?” To which Bob, recalling Rimbaud’s words, replied, “If you want me to, YES!”

But he was a restless spirit, a tambourine man, a mathematician too, and so he went quietly out on an endless tour of song and dance with a cowboy band, leaving behind a message that said “Beyond the horizon, in the Springtime or Fall, love waits forever, for one and for all.”

So seventy years have passed him by, as he is hanging in the balance of the reality of man, and if it is getting dark, it isn’t dark yet, more like moonlight shining in a series of dreams where the time and the tempo fade.

The spirits watched and smiled from above as he said in a monologue, “I’m trying to get to heaven, before they close the door, counting every grain of sand,” for it was the time of his confession, the hour of his deepest need.

But he could hear the ancient footsteps, like the motion of the sea, and so he kept on a walkin’, just trying to ring them bells and meld into the infinite blues universe, like Blind Willie McTell.

Baby Blue shouted, then in a whisper said, “Happy 70th birthday, Bob!” To which the always unpredictable man strummed his guitar quietly and sang, “Really? Maybe I should change my way of thinkin’, make myself a different set of rules,” as he answered with great dignity, followed by quasi-serious smile.

And with that he headed for the Mississippi delta, or was it the Cafe Wha? Or maybe it was back to the Highlands from where he had begun, so he could just sit and watch as the river flowed. Travelin’ fast, travelin’ slow, but with a shooting star like him, one never really knows, but it’s all been very well chronicled, or at the very least, written in words that can be seen blowin’ in the wind, now and forever more…..

Happy Birthday, Bob.

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