We all have paths where we've walked in circles so many times, we've dug ourselves a lovely rut. Sometimes we are just wandering, thinking of all of the chores we have to do, or remembering all of the people we think we've let down, or dreaming of a new life somewhere far far away and find that we have, unaware, fallen into the old familiar road to nowhere. Sometimes, we think we're on a brand new path. We set off, bright and early, with the sun painting oranges, yellows and pinks on the horizon, the birds chirping merrily like an unseen Greek chorus prophesying new beginnings, the path festooned with daffodils and spring lilies, and we're so entranced by the infinite possibilities of the new day that we don't notice the landscape changing until we're right back in that wretched rut.
The first time I saw blinders on a horse was when I was a little girl in Germany. I noticed that the horses that pulled carts up and down the mountain roads alongside automobiles often wore these strange squares on their faces. Not over their eyes, but next to them, so I reasoned that they couldn't be glasses or goggles. I puzzled and puzzled over the use for such a thing. Finally, I decided to ask my Oma about it. She explained to me that blinders help to convince a horse that the only correct direction to go is straight ahead and, without distractions, you could get a horse to ignore everything around it. It would just keep moving in whatever direction you pointed its head.
The song, "Recidivistic," happened after a conversation about the criminal "justice" system. I was talking to some friends about whether or not it was possible for incarceration to ever lead to true rehabilitation. Recidivism came up, and I started to think about those horses with blinders and our own tendencies, blinders or not, to follow well worn paths. I have no cure, but I know that I struggle with my own tendency to repeat my past mistakes and to worry to the point of immobility, when I walk the world without blinders, about the dangers that seem to surround me.
Nevertheless, in spite of the potential for disaster, here I go again setting off in a new direction.