Look around me
I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be
I am older now
I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did
And there’s so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
Oh, when you were young
Did you question all the answers?
Did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve?
Look around you now
You must go for what you wanted
Look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved
— Crosby, Stills & Nash, Wasted on the Way
I once heard a DJ dismiss Graham Nash as the least talented of the trio of Crosby, Stills & Nash. I think he missed the point, looking at individual songs added to the catalog instead of the overall contribution to the whole. Thinking of this group absent any of them leaves a void, for the magic was in the harmonies. Oddly enough, that DJ’s comment reminded me of a man who once greatly influenced me who wore a shirt that said “If you aren’t the lead dog the view never changes”. It may be funny, it may even be technically true, but that sled ain’t moving without the contribution of every dog. For me, those harmonies and a song like Wasted on the Way is contribution enough for Nash.
The twin analogies of growth (rings on a tree in good years and bad) and that water under the bridge, are familiar themes of looking back. But this is not a song about where we’ve been or that water under the bridge, it’s a song about now: the way, and the life before us. Life will always be about now, with a nod to what brought us here, but we must bring our attention to the way.
For each of us, what comes next is far more important than what happened before. We can’t linger on what’s wasted, for this business of living will continue until the end. We must embrace our chosen way and have the nerve to dance with it. Decide what to be and go be it. For we have another season of growth ahead of us. What kind of ring will it be?