A Letter from the Rooster's Nest

November 11, 2016

Rarely do I take time to stop and reflect, to turn inward and evaluate what makes me myself. We’re busy, all of us are. So busy that we wear our workload like skin and our happiness like the embarrassing sweater that grandma knit. It’s easier that way, only because it’s damn hard to be happy. Today, two things happened that made me turn inward. Not just for a moment, but for hours.

The first, as most of us are already aware, is the passing of Leonard Cohen yesterday at 82 years old. Mr. Cohen made pain real for me. He molded it in song and print, conversed with it, broke it. He was a man who knew pain, and a man who understood that his platform came with great responsibility. He spoke of love and hate, sexuality, passion, light and dark, depression. He spent his life in the relentless pursuit of happiness and internal freedom. His passing reminds me that I have lost sight of my happiness, that I have paused my pursuit in the wake of other things that seemed more pressing. Now those things seem trivial in a life that is short. Mr. Cohen, for you, for myself, and for others, I will commit my life to the preservation and enhancement of my happiness and the happiness of others. I only hope that my platform up on stage has brought all of you some happiness if only for a moment, and that our interactions off stage have done the same.

With no knowledge of Mr. Cohen’s passing, but by some divine stroke of the universe, a person who I have never met sent me an email today. I once worked with this person, technically, but I’ve never met him nor do I know anything about him. In the subject line he had written simply “Life”. His message to me was one that I’ve heard a million times and loosely followed: “life is short.” This man is many years my senior, and a man with I think many regrets. A man who has realized at this point in his life that his working definition of success was wrong. He took the time this morning to send me an email telling me to pursue my passions with good faith and vigor. I needed it this morning and I need it at this point of my life. Fresh out of college, working my tail off to make a dream work, and struggling with the expectations of others. I’m a musician. That’s what I do, I make music. That’s what I think about every second, that’s what I work my tail off to make a possibility, that’s what I work to improve. Music, playing music for you, is what makes me happy above anything else. It is the reason that I am able to love other people, that I am able to be kind to other people, that I am able to believe in people. My definition of success when I am playing in this band is so much purer that when I’m not. I am sorry for losing sight of that, even if it was only briefly. To those that come see us and listen to our music, I am devoting my life to you and your happiness. I will be happy too. That’s what Mr. Cohen wanted us to do and that’s what this gentleman this morning begged me to understand. Do not tread cautiously the currents of happiness, dive deep into that ocean.

~Ellis Dyson