HIGH LONESOME

HIGH LONESOME
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

"High Lonesome" is a reference to an emotionally charged, aching kind of music. It captures and conveys the soul's experience of isolation, abandonment, and meloncholy.
It's the sound of a lone wolf,
the single strain of a mourner's bugle,
the aching chords of a banjo being strummed by a lonely cowboy under a canopy of star-studded darkness.
High Lonesome is a hollowed-out voice captured through a musical strain.
You know it when you hear it ... and it hurts.
My friend "Charlie" played it for me.
-------
Charlie is an elderly man with salt and pepper hair and sad, dark eyes.
His frame is large, strong, and muscular.
A sadness penetrates him that's felt in a palpable way upon entrance into his room.
The walls of his small humble abode are lined with banjos, mandolins, and guitars, all in the plural.
His soul is heard in the walls, and I can feel a piece of him inside of me, with a curious kind of clarity.
------
My presence dramatically affects Charlie.
When we make eye contact, his breath is like a great wretching heave, and he bends over and starts to weep, intermittently looking up and reaching for me.
I kneel down beside him and I touch him.
His tears are warm,
his hands are trembling,
his shoulders are shaking.
He wants to speak ... but he's stumbling for words and he can't find them for a little while.
And then in a little fumble, stumble of words, he says something like this:
"Please don't go; don't be afraid.
Please stay by me.
I don't mean to cry.
It's just that you remind me of my wife;
she was so beautiful and energetic.
You are "her" presence and I miss her so bad.
Life's gone to hell since she died.
She was everything to me."
He strengthens his hold on me and points to an old black and white photo of the "love" of his life and then he points at me.
High Lonesome ... I can feel it.
-------
We talk about his intimate friends,
which is my reference to the musical instruments hanging on his walls,
 and that's when I see "it."
Sitting on a shelf all by itself is a very extraordinary piece of fine silver called a harmonica.
I pick it up, study it, and ask when he played it last.
He waves his hand in the air and says,
"That was a long time ago."
I don't like the answer, so I tell him I would very much like it if he played for me.
I note a spark in his eye upon the request and I can see he is legitimately contemplating it.
"Please ..." I say.
My words hang in the air, and he begins to recount the extraordinary story of this prized harmonica (for another day).
-------
Charlie puts the harmonica to his lips and with a familiar "cup" of the hand begins to play the extraordinary silver instrument.
I hear the sound of ... High Lonesome.
I hear the sound of a soul mourning the loss of a lover, friend, and confidante and I can almost feel the presence of another woman in the room.
He trails it with an upbeat wondrous, "Oh Susanna," and it's sensational.
His toe taps instinctively to the music and I audibly and visibly witness a spark of Charlie coming alive again.
Empowering. Captivating. Beautiful.
Me and Charlie are good together and the visit impacts us both.
In an attempt to reassure him of my returning presence I bring him his favorite drink a day later and he lights up like a cannon in my presence.
He loves it and I know it ...
Orange Crush and High Lonesome.
-----
To experience the "High Lonesome" of another is the sound and defining of compassion. It's the audible sound of love, hope, and healing in a lonely chord played and shared with another.
It's the sound of a soul playing music;
Charlie and the harmonica.
High Lonesome.
------