Yesterday, a goat appeared in my backyard. For some of you country folk this may not seem like a big deal, but for me, my husband, and my two cats, it was as if JFK rose from the dead. I think it was the way that the goat appeared out of nowhere, baaahhhing loudly down the stone steps that lead to our backyard, followed closely by a frantic neighbor, that made such an impact. Before the goat emerged the only sounds to be heard were the wind rustling through the trees and an occasional peck from our resident woodpecker, Red. And just as quickly and surprisingly as the goat materialized, he was gone, with the frantic neighbor still in tow. Call it obsession, delirium, or just being a hugely devoted fan, but this fleeting encounter actually reminded me of the Dave Matthews Band.
Besides the obvious fact that everything reminds me of DMB, this momentary meeting in particular brought to mind the quintessential theme present in many of the band's classic hits. The theme, of course, is the idea that nothing is permanent, that the span of our lives are but a bump in the EEG of the Universe, and it's up to us to ride that bump like it's a cosmic wave. Granted the wave could “wash us all away,” as suggested in “Pig,” but that's why we are urged to “Just look for the love in here!” In “Two Step” and “Tripping Billies” this same motif is expressed in what are now considered vintage DMB mantras, namely, “Celebrate we will. Because life is short but sweet for certain,” and “Eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die,” respectively. These catchy phrases bring forth the fragility of life while demonstrating the profound importance of living blissfully. And let us not forget the wise words, “Take these chances. Place them in a box until a quieter time. Lights down you up and die,” conveyed in “Ants Marching,” which articulate the essential human need to act spontaneously while we still have the breathe to do so.
Benjamin Franklin once said that, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain but death and taxes.” That may be true, but the music of DMB gives us a different perspective on “this dying thing.” Instead of letting the invariable nature of our fate freeze us into motionless statues, we are called upon to consider it a green light to adore every day as if it were our last, to see life for the amazing gift that it is, and most importantly, to love with everything we have. We may not know how long this gift is ours to hold, but the beauty lies in how we allow the uncertainty to push us past our comfort zones into the realm of courageous living. And as always, the music is there, supporting us with loving wings.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self