I’ve Been Out Walking

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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.               ~ Psalms 34:18

Well I’ve been out walking
I don’t do that much talking these days
These days…

I guess you could say I really have been out walking. I surely have not found time to write any new posts over the past few months, nor have I had much of a desire to do so. Like so many things, it was in the back of my mind, calling me, but I just couldn’t seem to get my head, or my hands, to do it.

These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
For you
And all the times I had the chance to

And I can’t really say I forgot. I wanted to, I really did. There was just so much coming down, crashing all around me. So much change, so much ending. So much starting, too. I can say I have a lot of regrets.  And maybe not so much about things done, but things left undone. Not things said, but things left unsaid. And, yes, I surely had the chances to do and say them.

And I had a lover
It’s so hard to risk another these days
These days…

crossroads

We all come to crossroads in our lives. It’s just a matter of when and where. So, how do we know which way to go? Who do we turn to for counsel? Even then, will the road we’ve chosen be for better or worse? Or just different? As I write this, a hoot owl sounds outside my open window. I wonder what that means, or if it means anything at all? Life to me seems, more than ever, like a random series of circumstances.

Now if I seem to be afraid
To live the life I have made in song
Well it’s just that I’ve been losing so long

As Joe Walsh said (and I paraphrase here): When it’s happening, life can seem like a crazy mess of random acts. But when you look back on it, in time, it reveals itself to be a perfectly scripted song. I’m hoping you are right, Joe. But I guess I’m still in the middle, ’cause looking back, it still makes no sense to me.

I’ll keep on moving
Things are bound to be improving these days
These days…

So, I’ll keep on walking. We all will.  And even if we can’t see it now, things are surely improving. When we look back, after some time has passed, we’ll see that it was getting better. That our walks were taking us exactly where we were meant to go.

These days I sit on corner stones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten, my friend
Don’t confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them

My failures are definitely not forgotten. They are there, always with me, under the surface. I will take some time to measure them. But then I will let them go. We all have to focus on the future and what lies ahead of us. We need not dwell too long in the past. I am saddened by some things  I’ve seen and done, but I’m encouraged and made hopeful by others.

As it says in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good for those that love the Lord”.  Those are words we can all take comfort in. And a little bit of consolation from Jackson Browne can’t hurt either.

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“These Days” was one of my favorites from his 1973 release For Everyman. Jackson had actually written the song back in 1964 when he was only 16 years old, under the original title “I’ve Been Out Walking”. The song was first recorded in 1967 by the German artist Nico, on her debut album, Chelsea Girl.  It has been covered since by artists as diverse as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tom Rush, Jennifer Warnes, 10,000 Maniacs, Fountains of Wayne and Glen Campbell, among many others.

But it was Greg Allman’s version from his 1973 solo debut, Laid Back, that really brought the song to prominence and prompted Jackson to include it on For Everyman. If you happen to have a copy of the old vinyl LP, check out the liner notes. You’ll see that JB thanks Gregg for the arrangement there. For many listeners and critics at the time (including American Songwriter magazine) , Gregg’s version overshadowed Jackson’s. But I’ve always favored JB’s.

So, lets all take a time out from our walking and enjoy this live version from him here:

And check out Gregg’s version here:

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