Wagon Wheel

Dreaming is what I do. The present, I’m not so good at, but conjuring up a perfect future and reminiscing about the past, THAT I can do. Quite well, actually. I had a dream once, it’s still a dream that still lives in my heart. Actually, I do believe that a true dream never does leave your heart. It might change and evolve (in ways you never expected), but it stays with you.

Right before Jay and I got married, I lived and worked in North Carolina. Being the perpetually forward thinking, future scheming, girl that I am, when I found out Jay would be applying to a graduate school down in the land of the pines (NC), I thought I would proactively get a job down there, start things off for us. Jay didn’t get into that graduate program, and we never moved. But we dreamed about it. We carried that dream so high in our hearts, both of us did, this shared notion of a perfect tomorrow that we would start together. That time in our life, right before we got married, was filled with so much hope and promise that looking back, I feel so nostalgic when I think about how blissful we were about a future that never came to be.

North Carolina Trip
North Carolina

Sure, we got married, lived happily ever after. But we quickly learned that with all of life’s transitions, come some bittersweet realities. Jay not getting into that graduate program was actually a BIG deal for us. It was proof that I couldn’t plan away every detail of my (our) life. That sometimes, even though you try so damn hard, and want something so damn bad, it doesn’t work out. There was a song that Jay sent to me, after he found out he didn’t get into grad school, but we were still holding onto the dream of North Carolina (like our last hope) that makes me tear up every time I hear it. The song was sent to me like a promise, like we can still make this happen, Mary. Our dream is not dead. It meant so much to me at the time (still does) because it represented the future I knew we would make together, and the future we thought would revolve around this location that we had created as some type of mythical Eden.

After he sent me the song, I came up to Michigan a few days later for a short visit (while still living in NC), and we went with a close friend to a bar we used to hang out at when we were in school. The song – came on the radio. To us, it was this random folk song that no one else could possibly know about. We just looked at each other with huge smiles on our face with a tear in both our eyes, because we knew, no doubt about it, that the song was playing just for us. Years later I hear this song all the time blasting from frat houses in the summer, and I’m sure that the song was gaining popularity even then, so it’s probably no coincidence it was playing, just a top 40 song. But to us, the moment was magical and it absolutely meant the world. So when I saw this print on etsy, I gasped. Literally. And then I pulled out my credit card and bought it.

Etsy Print, Rock Me Mama Like a Wagon Wheel
Etsy Print

Jay was really forever changed by that rejection (it was the only program he applied to), and it startled me to see my confident and carefree husband be so bristled by an achievement that slipped through the cracks. I’m never one to let a rejection get me down long – sure it hurts – but I quickly find a new dream to hold onto. I guess that’s the advantage for us head in the clouds, looking to tomorrow folks, there is always a new dream to capture. But Jay, Jay is softer and I swear, sometimes I still see the shadow on him of this missed opportunity for an alternate reality. I think he knew in his heart, that he was carrying a dream for both of us with that grad school application. I think he knew that the rejection, actually felt like a rejection to a deep and very powerful hope that we both carried. A dream for our future. Here is the picture, a smaller version, in our new art collage. Every time I look at it, I smile.

Hallway Art Collage, DIY Collage
Hallway Art Collage

So on this Valentine’s Day, I’d like to give an offering to my sensitive, loving and capable husband. And to let you know, I’ll always keep the dream in my heart – perhaps one day, we’ll make it a reality. For now, let’s always try to remember that it’s in our hearts and that we can live that dream, in Ann Arbor, MI, or Raleigh, NC.

Wagon Wheel 

Headed down south to the land of the pines
And I’m thumbin’ my way into North Caroline
Starin’ up the road
Pray to God I see headlights

I made it down the coast in seventeen hours
Pickin’ me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I’m a hopin’ for Raleigh
I can see my baby tonight

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

Runnin’ from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old-time stringband
My baby plays the guitar
I pick a banjo now

Oh, the North country winters keep a gettin’ me now
Lost my money playin’ poker so I had to up and leave
But I ain’t a turnin’ back
To livin’ that old life no more

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

Walkin’ to the south out of Roanoke
I caught a trucker out of Philly
Had a nice long toke
But he’s a headed west from the Cumberland Gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee

And I gotta get a move on before the sun
I hear my baby callin’ my name
And I know that she’s the only one
And if I die in Raleigh
At least I will die free

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

– Old Crow Medicine Show

 

10 thoughts on “Wagon Wheel

  1. Made my eyes misty too. Hope you help your husband accepting the fact that life goes on even though some dreams don’t come true. Dreams are important, but not being able to fulfil them should never bring us down and make us feel bad. Broken dreams should never stand in the way of a good life

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