April Come She WIll

This winter seems to have gone forever.  One day of snow followed by another followed by days where the very air seemed frozen.

Normally I love winter, but even I’ve hit my limit this year.  The last few days of nearly normal (and slightly above normal) temperatures have kindled in me a desire to see leaves bud, blossoms erupt in a fragrant flowerdrift — which is much easier to vanish than the snow sort — and to view a sky that is a brighter, softer blue than the blue of perpetual January which has been our lot since November.

I know that S&G are talking about a woman in their song, but I choose to take it literally  — April come she will.  And soon, I hope!

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The ineffable qualities of poignancy and time …

My husband and I saw Simon and Garfunkel when they toured together after the performance in the above song.

Even though I think the performance we saw at the Q in Cleveland was wonderful, there’s something about this video that moves me profoundly.  It’s not just that two old friends put aside their differences to make great music again.

Part of it is that this song paints an America that flat out doesn’t exist any more.  Don’t get me wrong — I’m a child of the 60s, and even seen through the haze of a good childhood, I know they weren’t as idyllic as some of us who lived through them think they were.  But there’s an innocence about the song, remembering a time when you could just pack up and go.  I suppose you still can, but it’s not the same.  We weren’t tied together by electronics then, whether smartphones or just the need to fill out forms and give out your social security number for the simplest of transactions.

The other thing is seeing Simon and Garfunkel together again.  They still sound amazingly great.  Most of the kids who are “stars” now won’t be able to stand up at these guys’ ages and sing with anywhere near the same quality — at least without autotuning and whatever electronic garbage the music industry comes up with in the meantime.  At the same time, I’m moved by their longevity together. They started off as high school students and are still together, making quality music all these years down the road.  Marriages don’t even last that long any more.

Also, musically, as someone else pointed out, they transposed the song down a half (I’m guessing to help Art Garfunkel) and the lower pitch moves something in me; its a darker, deeper feeling.  Maybe it’s nothing more than sonics, but it feels very emotive to me.

“Cathy I’m lost I said though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America”

Suddenly, I wish I could drive across the country … I’ve seen so little of it. Maybe that’s what moves me the most; America, and what she’s supposed to be.  Do you think there’s any of her left?

“Y” is for (mellow) Yellow

Since I missed doing this when I did “D”, this is my chance to celebrate Donovan getting into the R&R Hall of Fame.

I don’t remember all of his songs from my childhood — mostly “Hurdy Gurdy Man”, “Wear Your Love Like Heaven”, “Sunshine Superman”, “Catch the Wind”, “Jennifer Juniper” and of course “Mellow Yellow”.  Actually, that’s quite a few of his songs, come to think on it.  I liked him a lot — being a kid and not much into politics (of music or otherwise), I didn’t know about his fuss with Dylan (who I also liked).  I just knew his songs appealed to me.

Stephen King liked him so much that he used “Atlantis” as the basis for his book “Hearts in Atlantis”.

“Sunshine Superman” in particular has an actual day tied to it as a memory.  My mom, a child of the Great Depression, tended to be a bit frugal.  I came to understand why and if I told you what her childhood was like, you would too.  However, she had a thing about stuff that was different — unusual tourist sites, strange food, different stores (some time, I’ll tell you about the realio-trulio general store we went to) and off-beat beverages.  On the day in question, we had driven to Canton to buy Kickapoo Joy Juice (a kind of off-brand Mountain Dew).  We also (my sister and I) talked her into buying us Batman and Robin t-shirts.  So in honor of that cherished memory, here’s Donovan and “Sunshine Superman”.  (I know — it should be “Mellow Yellow”, but I like this one better.)

U is for U2

The first time I heard U2, I was in the bookstore at Kent State. I was only halfway listening, when some words the singer was singing grabbed my attention:

“… and the battle’s just begun, to claim the victory Jesus won …”

If you know anything about pop and rock music in the late 1970s, early 1980s, it was that:

1) Jesus was rarely mentioned (and rarely respectfully) and
2) If He was mentioned respectfully, it was usually in some “Kumbaya”-like folk song (I didn’t know about Jesus-people rock until much later)

I went up to the front desk and asked the guy behind the counter what they were playing. He showed me this album with a young boy on the front and the title of U2 War. The guy explained the band was called U2 and they were from Ireland and they were also Christians.

My budget didn’t run to albums (even though they weren’t that expensive, really) and I put the band’s name on my mental backburner and went on.

Down the road about five years or so, we all heard about Live Aid. I watched it, and there was U2 again, the lead singer drawing my attention by his antics. But the music caught my attention, too, and when Joshua Tree came out, I bought it and listened to it over and over again. Here were guys my age

singing things I believed in. I fell in love with the group and have loved them and their music ever since.

So today’s for U2 — still “Magnificent”. “Walk on”, guys.

“M” for Marche, Music and Montréal (another late entry)

Marche – That’s the French word for “walk”, as in “je marche” (I walk).  This weekend I participated in Walk MS.  I have, in past years, participated in several charitable walks — this year, this will be the only one and it’s the one that has the most meaning for me — pardon me if I’m reluctant to explain why. The person I primarily walk for doesn’t talk about having MS, so I’m not in a position to “out” them.  Wouldn’t want to anyway, of course.

Music – This is the first time I walked as far as I did without my trusty MP3 player.  I’m motivated by music — it’s my drug of choice and I have wide interests in the field, from classical to choral to rock to pop to Cajun to Edith Piaf to Astrud Gilberto to… well, I could go on and on for a very long time.  I’m much more willing to try new music than I am new writers, and I’m not altogether certain why, to tell you the truth.  Of course, most of my ancestry is Welsh and I secretly think that’s why music is so vital to me.

Montréal – I have a vivid fantasy life (ok, mind OUT of the gutter please). I very much would like to live in Montréal. (Of course, when I got there maybe I’d feel differently — but I’d like to at least TRY). I think I’d like to be near the Marché (this time it means “Market”) Jean-Talon, in Villeray.  One day… I’d love to live there and write all the ideas that are burbling around my head.

Love is Blindness…

‘”Love is drowning
In a deep well
All the secrets
And no one to tell…”

U2, “Love is Blindness”

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about and praying for a lot of friends. My contemporaries and I have started to hit the age where parents and even siblings are encountering serious, even life-ending, illness. While I’ve already had my adoptive mom and dad pass, and seen my sister through some health scares, I still (not being an island) am connected to what those around me are going through.  And I still have some involvement with my birth father. To make a long story a little shorter, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering mortality lately. But that’s not what this post is about.

I have one particular friend who means a lot to me.  No.  I’m tired of being a coward about my feelings — although part of me is glad that my friend doesn’t have time to read blog posts. 🙂  This person is special to me in a major way. And again I’m not being straight up about this.  I love him very much. And right now, he’s helping to see his dad through cancer treatment, as well as running his businesses and taking care of his family on a day to day basis.  Also, I think — though he’s never confirmed it and I won’t press him about it — that he is dealing with health issues of his own.  If you ask him, he’ll say he’s fine and then change the subject to ask you how you’re doing.  He’s that kind of guy.

I’ve never told him how I feel.  I never will. Not that he sees me that way — at most I’m just a nice person he talks to on the Internet — at worst, I’m probably a major pest. 🙂 And I have commitments, too, that preclude this being anything but a long-distance friendship; promises I intend to keep, although there are days when I could cheerfully walk away from them. Sometimes it all gets to be too much. But I keep on keeping on.  And for my friend, I express my love the only way I can — by not saying anything at all. Just to be there as much as is possible, to hold him in my heart and pray for him.

Some times love is muteness, too.

While there is time …

One of the things about getting older (and, in my case, passing 50) is a keen awareness of how little time, relatively, is left in one’s mortal life.

I mean, three of my four grandparents lived to be 90 or more, so I suppose theoretically I could be just at the halfway point of my life. But I’ve never aspired to be a centenarian. I think of a gentleman of my acquaintance who I heard gave up his favorite activity not so much because he didn’t enjoy it for itself any more, but because when he went to the places where he had taken part in it, he didn’t know anyone there. I’m not sure I want to outlive not only all the people I know and love but the world I grew up in (which is almost gone NOW) and the places I have known.

What I really wanted to talk about is my own perception of how time is slipping away from me. I can feel it sometimes, moment by moment, racing past me while I do nothing. There’s a vicious cycle involved. I am deep in depression, which eats away at my desire to do anything, so I do nothing, which depresses me even more. Etc., etc.

I am being offered help and the chance to change my life.  I am grateful for this. What is holding me back is strictly financial. If I could somehow come up with enough money, my life by the end of this year would be enormously different and, I believe, immensely better.  Maybe not, but the probability is great that it would be.

In the meantime, I feel nothing some days, or feel only bad things — pain, rejection, the effects of verbal abuse and insult — and I know I’m missing out on a lot.  The lyric of a much-loved Stevie Winwood song came to mind today …

“While there is time
Let’s go out and feel everything
If you hold me
I will let you into my dream
For time is a river rolling into nowhere
We must live while we can
And we’ll drink our cup of laughter

The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in m
The golden dance life could be

Oh, I’ve been sad
And have walked bitter streets alone
And come morning
There’s a good wind to blow me home
So time is a river rolling into nowhere
I will live while I can
I will have my ever after

The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in me
The golden dance life could be”

The Finer Things
(c) Steve Winwood

I want my chance at the ‘golden dance life could be’ before it can’t happen any more.