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Right outside this lazy summer home
You ain't got time to call your soul a critic, no
Right outside the lazy gate
Of winter's summer home
Wondering where the nuthatch winter's
With wings a mile long
Just carried the bird away

Back when I was a teenager and probably like most of the other kids my age, I walked around with a sense of arrogance. I thought I knew it all and nobody from parents to teachers to advisors and even to my peers could tell me anything new. Granted, my world at the time was pretty small and limited to a few blocks radius in Brooklyn, New York but even within that small area there was enough for me to form my own judgments and opinions and no matter how hard anybody tried to convince me otherwise I held firmly to my convictions that I was right about everything that happened under the sun and even beyond.

It wasn’t until I left home at the tender age of eighteen that I received a rude awakening about just how little I knew and how much there was left to discover.

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
But the heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now discover that you are the song that the morning brings
But the heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own

I soon realized that the world was a much bigger place than I ever imagined it to be. I met people from all across America and while some of them I liked and some of them I didn’t there was no escaping the fact that they existed. I could choose to ignore them and continue to live in my own little cocoon or acknowledge them and try to expand my horizons.

I think, for the most part, people like to play it safe. We fall back on what’s familiar to us and much like dining on a plate of comfort food, we welcome the warm embrace that it holds. I guess it’s the fear of the unknown that keeps us from looking beyond our own backyard and experiencing more of what the world has to offer.

A few years later after I travelled the world some and started my own family, the decision seemed to be made for me. My world was destined to become bigger.

There comes a redeemer and he slowly, too, fades away
And there follows his wagon behind him that's loaded with clay
And the seeds that were silent all burst into bloom and decay
And night comes so quiet, its close on the heels of the day

As it turns out, I wasn’t all that good at the whole family thing. In a way, I’m still paying the price for that to this day. As I get older, my past haunts me and I’m ashamed for many of the things I did back in the day and as hard as I try to chalk it off to youthful indiscretion, I’m still left wondering about how different things might have been had I acted more like an adult than the overgrown child I was.

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
But the heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now discover that you are the song that the morning brings
But the heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own

It’s often been said that life doesn’t offer you too many second chances so maybe that makes me one of the lucky ones. I was given another stab at life and even though that didn’t work out as I thought it would, I’m still the better person for it and while there are some moments I’d like to trade in, most of them manage to bring a smile to my face and maybe one of those good kind of tears to my eyes.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own

Getting back to the title of this node, I guess what I’m trying to say is that there really is no way to check to see if someone has been through it all. Human beings aren’t like cars or anything else that comes with an owner’s manual. We don’t come with a warranty and when our “service engine soon” light comes on it happens at different times for each of us.

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
But the heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now discover that you are the song that the morning brings
But the heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own

I’m pretty damn sure of a few things though. As long as my eyes and my mind are still open, my lungs are still breathing and my heart is still beating there’s still more than enough in this world for me to discover. There’s still beaches to walk, mornings to greet and sunsets to either put me in awe or put me to bed.

For that, I’m very thankful.

Words and music for Eyes of the World come to us courtesy of Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Said lyrics have had a very profound effect on my life and I hope I did them some justice by including them here.