“Sittin' in the mornin' sun/ I'll be sittin' when the evenin' comes/ Watching the ships roll in/ And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah/ I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay/ Watching the tide roll away/ Oooh, I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay/ Wastin' time”
"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" – Otis Redding
Chocolate ice cream, snickers bars, banana cream pie – comfort food. For many of us, when times get hard, we raid the ice box and find that thing brings us comfort and somewhere, deep in the recesses of our mind tells us everything is going to be ok, if just for a minute. And then there’s music, for me, comfort food for the soul.
Like the idea of comfort food, at any given moment our soul wants different things. Perhaps you take solace in your bible, your favorite passage of poetry, a flip through a well worn photo album. Maybe all of the above, maybe none of the above – each trying moment demands a different touchstone to bring us back to the here and now. And the touchstone required for each of us is as different and unique as our fingerprint.
As I said, for me it’s usually music and more often than not, it's Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” I really couldn’t tell you how that came to be nor could I tell you why. But sure enough, in times of duress you’ll find me lightly humming or whistling that familiar refrain.
Perhaps its Redding’s smooth, jazz voice, or perhaps it’s the tranquil scene depicted – here’s a man at peace with the world, caught in his stolen moment of the sunrise. Or perhaps somewhere over the years I, like Redding, found those few glorious moments where you get to witness the awesome beauty of a sunrise, or as was more often my case a sunset, enough to settle the raging storms inside.
There’s just something amazing about watching the sun rise and just one short hour later you get to watch it set as was the case in the darkest moments of winter growing up in Alaska. The years living in San Diego watching the sun set as I stood on the cliffs of La Jolla, magnificent beaches below or taking Redding at his word and watching the ships roll in at the piers of San Francisco, leaned back on the body of my motorcycle. At those moments it didn’t matter what was going on around me or what troubles, both real and imagined, stirred in my mind. At those moments, everything was right with the world and the world was beautiful.
Let’s face it, sometimes the world can be a pretty ugly place what with war, famine, disease and everything else that causes misery and all of us need that thing. That comfort food for the soul that gives us the power to carry on, to wake up in the morning and do it all over again despite what seems like the worlds attempt to bring us down. As I write this, it’s still early, it’s still dark outside my office window. I think I’m going to take my I-pod loaded with Otis and head to the bluffs – time to watch a sunrise. Sittin in the morning sun …