There is a sadness to country music I am a sucker for. Probably because I am a poet.
And country music is like a reata, wraps itself like a cord, and tugs tight on the heart. Its big ole’ box of magic, capturing the sentimentality of the human condition in a simple stanza. Country music drips into ya real slow, seeping into tiny pockets ya didn’t even know could quake. Like little earthquakes, it rumbles, kicks up dust in the heart you didn’t know was unsettled until ya see the storm rising on the open prairie.
The human condition has always amazed me. Like now, as I write this I wonder what you may be going through. What dust is kickin’ up in your heart?
I can’t help myself most of the time when I listen to country music; I usually end up crying, quivering like a kid, with honeydew melon size tears, bursting through my skin song. It’s no secret I’m a heavy thinker. I grew up with a lot of quiet and a lot of noise. I guess those dust storms settled pretty thick on my heart. Moreover, Wyoming’s buffalo hide and open sky, tawny brown blue, never escaped me. Always with me, like a country song you can’t get outta your mind. Into my heart, Wyoming crept.
I wasn’t always a Wyoming girl. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago until I was fifteen. And then my parents moved to Cheyenne and I couldn’t wait to get outta that god forsaken land. I was flabbergasted when I had to pee in a ditch, as we hoped off the bus for bathroom breaks on long wide open bus rides for conference games that crisscrossed us high school athletes to the North, as far as Gillette and South as far as the Utah border to Evanston.
My parents always talked about a snow storm so thick it was like cotton sleeves of God. The snow plows of the Wyoming Department of Transportation guided our big, thick school bus to the state championships in Casper, the middle of the state, three hours from Cheyenne. It took us six to get there safe and sound.
I see it in the twinkle of a country star as he strums his guitar he most likely named.
Like “Trigger” named after Roy Rodger’s horse. Willie Nelson understands this muse, as do the fans and musicians in the country music scene. I’m not saying it’s all perfect and poised, but something real special exists in a country song.
Something a pop song can’t puncture, something pristine and pure. Something only a heart can feel, like an earthquake under your feet, like a tornado up over head, seen off in the distance.
Time pauses for me when I hear country music, my heart encapsulated in its beauty and truth. A story told through ballads. That reata rotating in the tilt of the cowboy’s curved arm. It lassoes around me, loosens up the dirt and pretty soon I’m covered in sobs, falling for honky tonk tunes about somebody’s woman who left em’ or a rodeo grabbin’ a hold of a cowboy’s heart, pulling him far away toward something he can’t explain, but gives him fire to fuel his eight second muse.
I love it. Country music and me, we gonna be together for a long while, it just feels right in my Wyoming heart.