“A Bag of Secrets”

I find that every now and then, I will discover a piece of music or song that really resonates with me. Sometimes the reason is obvious, but sometimes it just seems to be the melodic flow of the instruments. My imagination can always be “fired up” with particular musical phrasing, and of course by a certain lyric line, so when listening to music or a song (or even reading a book), I am often “directed” into a space where I can let go of the real world for a few moments. I go into my “other world”!

Back in 1973 (when I was a 27 years old father of two), Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” was released. I was one of the few in my social circle that fell in love with it, and I cannot even guess at how many times I have listened to it.  For anybody not familiar with it, the original (he also recorded an orchestrated version and also a more modern electronic version), is a 50 minute musical adventure!

The other day I was searching YouTube for some specific music and quite by chance noticed a “Tubular Bells” video. It was of a live performance by Mike Oldfield however, it was timed at just over 8 minutes. How can one present a 50 minute piece of music in 8 minutes? I had no idea but decided to find out!

Not surprisingly (in retrospect), he used the main “Tubular Bells” theme to gently caress other melodies. This Post was not, however, written to focus on Mike Oldfield, or his “Tubular Bells” piece. Remember the first paragraph?

As the 8 minute YouTube video performance was almost at its end, a voice of a very young boy with an English accent said:

And the man in the rain picked up his bag of secrets, and journeyed up the mountainside, far above the clouds, and nothing was ever heard from him again.”

So why don’t you join me as I go through the doorway into my “other world” and contemplate that single sentence. It raises so many questions such as:

Is it an old man? I associate the activity as being that of an old man, but that is nothing more than my perspective.

Why is he out in the rain? Obviously an unfortunate set of circumstances, but perhaps his mission was very important to him.

How was he travelling? I can visualize so easily an old man walking with great effort up a mountain path and disappearing into the clouds, although he apparently went “far above the clouds” … and has not been heard from since, so I wonder where he went?

Those of you  who are very detail oriented, may be aware that I have not mentioned the “bag of secrets”! That “bag of secrets” was the phrase that got my initial attention and locked in my interest to the point where I had to Google the piece to get the exact wording. So what exactly was in his bag of secrets? Well of course, being secrets, we will likely never know but what an adventure in one sentence 29 words long! Here we have an old man going out in the rain to pick up his bag of secrets. We don’t know whether they were his secrets in the bag, or those of somebody very special to him, but his mission was important enough to be out in the rain.

Then there is the “mountainside”. Not only does that conjure up images of a quite steep and winding trail, but that trail went right through (“far above”) a layer of clouds and “nothing was ever heard from him again”.

So what is it all about? I have no idea what Mike Oldfield had in mind for either the “Tubular Bells” musical saga, or for the little English boy’s spoken words at the end of the live performance. When in my “other world” however:

The old man has lived a long and eventful life and feels that his end is near. He knows that if some of his knowledge learned over his many years were to become known by others, then those dear to him could suffer as a result. He therefore decided that, rather than risk his secrets becoming known upon his passing, he would put them all in a bag and take them to a place where nobody would ever find them.

What happened “above the clouds” provides a couple of possibilities. I think that his work on earth was recognized by one or more of the deities who watch from above, and a reward was offered to him, being eternal life nearer to them … and he could bring his bag of secrets with him to ensure their safety. So it is my belief that he walked up the trail, carrying his bag of secrets, right through the clouds and to the very top of the mountain, at which point he was gently taken from the mountain and carried to a place some of us might call Heaven where he still lives.

An alternative thought is that he carried his bag of secrets to the top of the mountain where he then buried them. His mission completed, and knowing his time was imminent, he lay down and awaited his final breath.

In summary, an intriguing three word phrase (“bag of secrets”) and 26 additional words, can really create the basis for quite a story!

Footnote: It is remarkable how a short collection of words can make such an impact. Now imagine what a larger number of words could do! Well of course, a larger number of words can be called a book, and I am sure that most of you have read at least one book which held your attention, and may even have created lasting memories. A “Bag of Secrets” and the “Power of Words”, are both doorways which invite us through. Anybody ready for more adventures?

15 thoughts on ““A Bag of Secrets”

  1. This is indeed a sentence that makes you curious and think. This is pure art: you share something but leave it up to the viewer how he interprets it and leaves room for his own fantasy and interpretation. I love that! So, I will check out Tubular Bells now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It became the soundtrack to the film/movie “The Exorcist” released in the 1970s (I didn’t know that), and appears to pick various ideas from Side 1 of the “Tubular Bells” album (approx 25 minutes). Side 2 of the album is an expanded version of the original theme with multiple variations. It is a fascinating album, if you like musical journeys with lots of detours!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to know what’s in that bag of secrets. Because I’m nosy. Of course, we all have our own little secrets we don’t want anyone to know about, and would like to take to our grave. Which is a good reason to never run for president.

    But when I read that phrase, I was thinking about an old mystic who possessed esoteric wisdom (bag of secrets), but was now on the brink of death (in the rain). Traveling up the mountain and above the clouds (dying, and going to an enlightened place where it doesn’t rain), his wisdom would no longer be visible or accessible to mortals.

    Liked by 1 person

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