There’s an interesting condition in cattle of a certain age called, “smooth mouth“. When cows get to be “past their prime”, their teeth have chewed all that they can handle and become worn down and smooth, thus making it increasingly difficult to masticate grasses or grains properly, to chew their cud well, or to glean proper nutrition from their feed. At this point, they become redundant for the breeding and production program, retired, and if they’re lucky, get “put out to pasture”.
I was considering this, and how many human animals are deemed redundant in their dotage when it comes to usefulness in their particular areas of expertice in the eyes of current society. Many times these individuals’ vast knowledge and experience is looked upon as outdated or old fashioned and unnessesary for the bold new way of things. It’s not fair, and it’s not right, and most times is unwarranted, but often the way of the world as we know it. I can think of more than several dozen professions, just off the top of my head, which, if allowed to maintain their wise old crows, would flourish in ways unimagined. Thoughtful societies revere their elders for their wisdom and vast experiencial knowledge, give them well deserved Mentor status, and are richer for it.
When I consider the careers of musicians and song writers, however, no matter the condition of their pearly chompers, time and long history only seems to sweeten their gift, in that their perception of life and what it all means becomes more acute. Or, could it be that they simply have lived long enough, if they’re observant, to have the mind to ask all of the right questions? As Poets, they are the heart and conscience of the people. Although their hands and voices may be a little stiff as casualty to aging, their creative expression and delivery grow richer and more finely tuned as the years go by. There is no danger of being ‘put out to pasture’ for these gifted wonders, however, how are we to hear of these jewels? Where can we go to learn from them? Certainly not from the commercial mass media – that venue is paved like a grotesque Luge track, a well worn groove tuned to the monster of commerce.