Living on the edge of her future, a six-year-old stood in the spotlight of the sun. Her voice, clear and unwavering, belted out the song to the audience. Standing on the edge of the stage, she feared nothing and no one.
I don’t remember the song, but I do remember the girl. The rough-hewn wood of the picnic table stage lifted her to the top of the world. The music promised dreams and love. The twittering birds flew by without stopping, but the grasshoppers stood silent as her song continued.
Somewhere in the boxes of old photos, a picture of the child with scraggly blonde hair captured the moment. Holding onto the jump rope microphone, she could sing for hours—no applause needed.
Living on the Edge
I have a dear friend who used to always tell me,
“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.”
I’m not a particularly daring person, but hidden courage dwells deep inside me. Without realizing it, I’ve dared to live on the edge for most of my life. Only now, do I understand this about myself?
This week I told my soulmate that I considered myself a coward for not speaking out and protesting more. He looked at me bewildered. “You are the bravest person I know.”
“Think about it. You have tackled problems few ever face and always give your best. That’s not a coward.”
An inspiring writer, Rasheed Hooda, has written about the songs that made him happy, Dream songs, and A tribute to George Floyd from REO Speedwagon. Those musical montages spirited me away to other places, other times, and the music that stamped into my memory.
I started reminiscing about music and its power to add meaning to my life. I started a list by decades. Yes, decades of music and every genre. How could I ever pick just a few?
I had all but given up on the list when I started thinking one day about living on the edge. That’s it. What music or songs inspired me throughout my life and now to keep going, press on, and never give up living on the edge.
A Musical Tribute
Here’s to you, Rasheed. I don’t have that splintered picnic table or the tattered jump rope anymore. I have a real microphone, streaming music, a piano, and a guitar. The birds sing outside my window while I make music inside. My audience—me. Oh, my soulmate listens and doesn’t seem to hear the missed notes or the slight warble off-key.
All that doesn’t matter because when you live on the edge, you grasp life one moment at a time. You never let a second slip by because you only pass this way once. Live it well and on the edge.
Folk music carried me into the ’60s, and Joan Baez led the way with “Edge of Glory.”
My house stands at the edge of glory
Steady as the seasons change
Dreams of grace arise before me
And they call me home again
James Taylor sings of the secret of life. In his calm and easy style, he reminds us to not be afraid to live life to the fullest. As we push to the edge for change and speak truth, we must remain grounded in living.
Well the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it,
There ain’t nothin’ to it.
Steven Tyler and Aerosmith shout:
“There’s somethin’ wrong with the world today
The light bulb’s gettin dim
There’s meltdown in the sky.”
I’m a huge fan of musicals. My family laughs when I turn on “The Sound of Music” —again. The hills and streets are alive with the sounds of music. I look for the simple pleasures in life that become my favorite things.
And, I know that no matter what, I can climb every mountain. We can too if we choose to open our hearts and look beyond what divides us.
Shirley Bassey prays the song into your heart.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream
Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream
(A dream that will need all the love you can give)
(Every day of your life for as long as you live)