“Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The sky overhead clouded over as I neared my last few miles of the day. A long stretch of empty road through a deserted village laid in front of me and not a soul could be seen, except for a young boy sitting on his shoe shine box. Sweaty, tired and on the verge of death from boredom I slowly plodded down the lonely street. Its at this point in my walks where time seems to stretch and a single mile seems to go on for infinity. Its times like these where I start to believe I’ll never end my day’s walk. As I came up to the young boy I noticed he was whistling and tapping his foot. When I passed he gave me a happy nod and I could hear him quietly humming a tune. Amazed that he was so upbeat even though he had the dirtiest job in town, I asked him how he kept from getting the blues. He just grinned and said “Getta rhythm!”
With that a drum beat issued out from my iPod, its sound seeming to fill the air around us. The boy jumped up and started to strut down the street. I followed. Every few steps he gave a little skip in his step and twirled once or twice. I suddenly noticed that my backpack had magically disappeared, leaving me light as a feather. A guitar riff started in as I looked up at the cloudy sky over head and gave a frown. The young boy and I glanced at each other and then faced the dark gray mass, inhaled deeply, and blew away the clouds. A sun appeared from behind them, stretched, and gave us a wink. “Well hello, Mr. Blue Sky!” the young boy yelled up and the sun beamed. As the song entered into its first verse we danced down the street as a few people stuck their heads out of their houses and began to sing along. We crossed Abbey Road with four gentlemen dressed in suits as woman named Lucy floated overhead, littering the sky with diamonds. I asked one of them how he was feeling and he replied, “I feel fine!” “Me too!” I said. For a few seconds we saw life in technicolor as we convinced ourselves that we were indeed, very busy people. From my iPod’s audiobooks emerged Harry Potter and Edgar Freemantle. As Harry conjured jets of colorful sparks, Edgar painted the most beautiful sunset where seashells bloomed into roses.
An uncontrollable happiness had now spread over me as I started to dance down the street, a few onlookers joining in. We passed an elementary school where a banner read “School’s Out For The Summer!”, except that the words “For The Summer” had been crossed out and replaced with “Forever”. Kids spilled out into the streets and threw their homework into the air, laughing and doing cartwheels. The teachers threw out all the rules and began to smoke and kiss in the parking lot as “A+” papers fell all around them. One teacher asked what kind of music this was and another shrugged, replying, “I dunno, but it’s still rock and roll to me!” A considerable crowd had begun to accumulate behind me as I sang the chorus and danced moves I never knew I had in me. Overhead a house supported by thousands of colorful balloons passed by as an elderly couple held hands and reminisced about all the stuff that they had done. The house dropped in altitude just slightly as 99 red balloons detached themselves and floated away in the summer sky.
As the second verse started in, and more people fell in line behind me, my heart gave a jump and then leapt out of my chest. It grew arms and legs and then turned into the most beautiful girl who had ever possessed my heart. We kissed as a burning ring of fire encircled us, but we swore we didn’t start it. “Oh! It is love!” someone nearby exclaimed. We passed by Strawberry Swing, a building labeled “Feel Good Inc.” and then a pool party where hundreds of people swam and sang, “Holy guacamole, we’ve got chips!” The crowd behind us grew into hundreds as we all started into a dance routine. We all dance and twirled, leapt and tumbled as a petty poet sang to a courtesan on top of an elephant’s head. As the second verse slid into the second chorus I rose my right arm up into the air and then brought it down onto what had been an air guitar and heard the deafening reverberation of its strings sounding through the street. We came to the town’s center square where a large stage stood and crowd of thousand stood before it, cheering and swaying. I jumped onto stage and sang the chorus as the guitarist sporting blue suede shoes to my right moved his hips in a way that made all the girls swoon. I handed my guitar to Tom who sang a few of the chorus’ final lines, “And everyday I wake, I tell myself a little harmless lie…”
I dove off stage and surfed through the crowd. I met up with my girl and we clasped hands and laughed as we floated through the masses. As we entered the middle of town square, and the song entered its space-like interlude, the crowd threw us onto a large trampoline, where we began to jump higher and higher. We jumped so high that we left the town down below, floated past the place where soul meets body, through the vanilla twilight and emerged into outer space. We saw a rocket man and Major Tom being swallowed by infinity’s limits, with the earth below them, drifting, falling. As they floated weightlessly they both sang, “This is our home… We’re going home.” As they disappeared we spun and twirled, we wore the stars that turned on our lives and kissed in a way that made the galaxies blush. As we kissed planet earth turned slowly and I thought about how love’s been good to me. We walked on sunshine and talked about what a wonderful world we live in. As the song neared the end of its bridge we began to fall back to earth, leaving behind such great heights.
We were free fallin’ as we passed eagles who were flying through a hole in the world. As we drifted down to earth the stars overhead became explosions in the sky and we landed on the ground as the song’s final chorus burst into action. Thousands of people fell in behind us and began to sing along. A skulk of three foxes darted between our legs, chasing after red rabbits. Through the door’s of a nearby church, a large gospel choir dressed in maroon robes spilled out into the street, singing the background vocals. A heavenly voice filled the air as the hills surrounding the small town came alive with the sound of music. The energy in the air had such an electric feel that we all felt like electric eels as we sang and twirled in slow motion. We turned down the final long stretch of road which was lined by hundreds of excited onlookers. We paraded on as marching band appeared from out of alleyways and their brassy music bounced off all the buildings. We passed a turnoff for Margaritaville as someone threw me a large conducting baton and I lead the way, high-stepping through the streets, giving my step an extra bounce here and there. Fireworks exploded overhead and the elderly couple released their thousands of balloons that filled the sky, their surfaces bending the sunlight into rainbows. As spots of colors swam across our faces and the streets, my baton turned into a orchestra conductor’s wand and I handed it off to Mr. Williams. He gave it a wave and the marching band turned into the magnificent Boston Pops Orchestra as the climax of the song began. Horns blared and a timpani thundered booms as I approached the end of the road.
A portly man – the town’s mayor – was standing in front of a doorway that stood in the middle of the street, the words “The Whole Wide World” written across its top. He was holding a large poofy pillow where a shiny key lay. I took the key and then looked back at the street behind me. The parade of people had stopped and were now singing the last words of the song. Fireflies filled the air as dancers spun and everyone began to wave their hands. The orchestra’s horns swelled and the drums began to crescendo. The brown-eyed girl gave me one last smile as everyone stared on expectantly. I turned back to the door, unlocked it with the key and entered it as the last note sounded. The instant the door shut the song ended and the world became completely quiet. My pack had returned to my shoulders and I turned around to find an empty street and a cloudy sky. My heart threatened to drop, but I then saw the young shoe shine boy down the street, tapping his foot. I smiled, pushed “repeat” on my iPod and walked on as the sun appeared from behind the clouds and the world turned into my own, once again.