I was very young when I feel in love with Bob Dylan. It was instant, whole hearted. Hit me like a ton of bricks and nearly knocked me to my feet. The same way I felt when I first heard Woody Guthrie sing This Land is You Land in the sun lit halls of Mrs. Farr's kindergarten quarters at Garettson Elementary. I knew it was the best music I would ever know. And to this day, I feel the same.
By high school I was a full blown fanatic. I carried his picture in my folders, listened solely to his albums, wrote ragged old women from another era, who knew stuff kids my age didn't care to and which I valued - sent me secret codes for presale concert tickets or traded fuzzy, rare videos of the man himself, from another day, a different age. I read books, met his son! Memorized the shadowy recounts of his past inhabits, romances, inspirations, dreams, parents, and path. An endless desire to uncover the person behind those words, burning like a fiery stake wedged inside my hungry teenage heart. A feat I, nor anyone else I know of, ever truly succeeded in.
While pregnant with Arlo, Mike - realizing the extent of my devotion - suggested we name the baby (who we knew from the start would be a boy) Dylan, which I dismissed immediately simply because, for me, it was the same as naming your first born Jesus. Didn't feel right. Despite the fact that I spent much of that pregnancy with hefty headphones stretched over my pregnant stomach, letting Desolation Row seep into that baby's newly forming consciousness. A luxury only the first pregnancy would know. With each baby came more chaos and less idle hours to sit and consider the one on it's way. To pick songs and imagine them as tiny poets themselves, waiting with these songs to keep them company until they were ready to bloom.
Today, being his birthday, we celebrate the songs in our house. Post pictures and write unexpected (confessional) posts about what an impact he's had on us and somehow, along the way, taught us the greatest lessons we know in life. Even if we can't possibly begin to explain how, or why.
Happy Birthday, Bob