These Quiet Wars


Bob Dylan sang to me in a dream last night.

"I sing songs of war. Some are hard. And some are quiet", he said. As several of us gathered at the counter to listen, I wondered what the quiet ones sounded like to him.

From behind the bar, he plucked his acoustic in the agile fashion as he had always done, quickly and gracefully against his waling voice. I couldn’t make out any of his words, but still, it resonated.

I listened vigilantly with my elbow anchored to the counter, chin nestled in the pad of my palm, knuckles sealing my lips. But perhaps this secret is one of the ones we are allowed to share. We caught eyes only briefly, but he continued inching his face closer to mine as he examined the cracks in my hands. These lines must have told him that I had similar stories to share.

These quiet wars. They are patient, but persistent. They give us time to reflect, process, and decide how to handle them or how to ignore them, even if just for now. They stir steadily inside and sometimes offer their own solutions (or at least a portion of the solution) if only we are quiet enough to hear. I wondered if I had gathered enough wisdom to listen.

These pleas don’t always take word form. They reside in mood, in feeling, in tone. And, like prayer, the intentions and sincerity of these pleas transcend beyond words and can carry our song, even when we have only enough breath left to pant.