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5 January 2010

I knew I should have just gone to bed last night. And I certainly should have known I would spend more than half an hour down there when I headed to my office in the basement, but I donít know that it would have mattered. It had been too long already.

The one string had been broken for I donít know how long. Over a year, Iím sure. I hadnít even taken the thing out of its case for ages, let alone played it. At times I wanted to, but the broken string slammed the door on that, and on any given day, buying new strings just wasnít on the agenda. And the room in the basement was so packed and cluttered that the guitar wasnít even easy to get to.

But now a couple of the things that were filling that room have disappeared, out of my way. And with a package of new strings that my lovely wife bought me for Christmas (thank you, honey) on another good friendís advice (thank you, too) in my hands, last night seemed just fine. It didnít feel right, in fact, to wait any longer.

And so I played. Remembering, with difficulty, songs and arrangements Iíd loved at one time or another. Ignoring the sting in my uncalloused fingertips and the fret buzz I couldnít quite get my hand to eliminate during bar chords. Singing like there was no one else in the house, even though there was.

I never put the guitar back in its case. I found the old guitar stand, stood it in the corner, and let the instrument sit upright on it, displayed, in full view from anywhere in the room, something important that had been brought back from disrepair.

And important things have fallen into disrepair. Not all of them are as simple to fix. Some are not fixed with paint or metal or just-wanted-to-see-how-youíre-doing phone calls or long letters explaining where we stand, though those events might be a necessary part. There is a necessary plunge into the unknown that, on any given day, just doesnít seem to be on the agenda. And the plunge doesnít come for Christmas or a birthday. You have to lace on your boots and step out into the cold and go get it.

It doesnít feel right to wait much longer.

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