To Bob Dylan
Copyright © 2007 Jordan White
Oh my goodness, how can I describe to you what you and your music mean to me?
I can hardly believe you’re only six years older than me, because, growing up, you were always out there, writing songs, performing, leading us in activism in a time when no one else was doing it, or so it seemed to us.
I know the songs that everyone always associates with you like “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “Don’t Think Twice”, “It Ain’t Me, Babe”, and so, so many others.
But do you know what my favorite song of yours is? It’s “Tambourine Man”. That’s the one that leaves everybody scratching their heads and saying, “It’s a nice song, but what’s it about? How can anyone play a song on a tambourine? It’s basically a drum! And what the heck is a ‘jingle-jangle morning?’”
Bob, that’s exactly what I like about that song. It’s so quintessentially you. I know that when you hear a tambourine, you hear its music in your head. And that music that only you hear is plaintive and beautiful, the kind you never tire of and want to hear over and over again, especially if [you’re] not sleepy, and there is no place [you’re] goin’ to…
And I know that when the sun rises, you don’t just see the rosy colors of dawn, the first pure rays of morning. No, you hear a sound like crystal wind chimes, like ice on a pond breaking up in a Minnesota thaw.
Thank you, Bob, my friend, my inspiration. Thank you for donning your red-checked kaffiyah to show us that we are all Palestinians. Thank you for helping us to wonder when the cannonballs would be banned. Thank you for helping us to see things differently, for daring to step outside our comfort zone and to truly start to live as human beings should.
And thank you for helping us to hear the sunrise.