Cowboy Songs for my European Friends

OWEN EARL   23 March 2020

coronavirus can't stop the cowboys


It’s been a period of rapid change, loads of fear, and more than anything, uncertainty. The coronavirus is showing us how connected we all are, how much we have in common, and how fragile our society really is. It’s been a period of great loss and morning, something I fear will only grow as the death toll rises. Everyone I know is going through some form of grief. Otherwise mundane interactions become charged with a communal sense of uneasiness. These are not easy times and I would not wish this kind of thing on any of us.

Still, I am reminded of how powerful we all are, I am reminded of how much little acts of kindness and grace can change lives. I am reminded of the late, great, cowboy hero of mine, Mr. Rogers, who told us to “look for the helpers.” That whenever disaster strikes there will always be people whose first instinct is to help ease the suffering of their fellow people.

I look around me and I see many helpers. I am grateful and proud of the many grocery store workers who put their lives at risk everyday so I can continue to buy my milk and bread. I am grateful towards the many medical professionals that are continuing to come into work everyday, with no clear end in sight. I am grateful to the thinkers and makers and hackers of the world that are helping to 3D print necessary medical supplies and are finding solutions to the problems of shortages. These are individual people, and they are heroes who are keeping things afloat in this time of great crisis.

I am, more than anything, grateful to the helpers in my own life. The people who love me and are there to make me smile. They are the ones who give me hope. I can’t help but feel, no matter how bad things get there will still be people in my life who I love and love me and that is what makes life worth living.

As the title of this post implies, I am living in Europe right now, a great distance from the people I grew up with in the States. I miss them. I miss the American spirit too. I don’t know what kind of helper I can be right now. I am not as brave or as strong as so many of the people around me. I cannot be as good of a helper and many of the people who are helping me right now, but I know that is not what they would want or expect from me. They are helpers because the people they are helping are good enough as they are. I am good enough as I am.

There are videos circulating of folks in Europe playing music from their balconies to lift the spirits of the people around them. This is a lovely trend. I don’t have a balcony, but I do live in Europe and I can play music.

To bring a little of the Cowboy fighting spirit to my European friends who are there for me in this time of crisis, I’ve decided to start playing cowboy songs out of my window.

I know I’m not the best performer. I decided to keep the video as one take, flaws and all because right now, as is true in life generally, it’s not about being perfect it’s about doing your best.

I hope that I can bring a little bit of joy into the world right now. I hope that whomever you are and wherever you are that you are staying safe and well. I hope you are taking care of yourself and letting the helpers in your life know how much they mean to you.