All of This Time

This is week 42 of #songaweek2021. Which makes this week “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.” But not necessarily this song. It just gets to say it was born in a fortuitous time.

Oh, I must give some credit for inspiration – this post from The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings) discussing a book about trees called Old Growth, about how trees do everything, including living and dying, on a very different timescale from us humans.

And thanks to my daughter for letting me use her Sirius Black bobblehead, and my brother for the gift of the Ukrainian nesting doll many years ago. They were very cooperative film stars.

I remember my grandmother and the laundry on the line
But I feel it like a story from another space and time
Oh the sweet sting in the memories of the days we’ve left behind
Gone forever, come back never, nevermore

There goes the me I used to be
Here comes the one I’m setting free
All of this time it’s up to me to live with me
In peace

There’s a country undiscovered in each other who I meet
You’re a universe of wonders and you share this air I breathe
It’s a language only you know but I’ll listen when you speak
You mean more to me than anything you say

There goes the you I thought I knew
Here is the you I’m talking to
All of this time I’m only taking in a glimpse
Of you

I go dreaming with the trees while they are dying by degrees
Round my feet I feel their children rising up from broken seeds
Taking root, spreading out, bright sky, dark ground
Changing ever and forever, evermore

There goes the world we used to know
Here comes the one we’re making now
All of this time it’s up to us to live with us
In love

Perfect Pretend Night

I got Nathan to play along on this one so it’s officially a Cabin of Love song! And just indulged in old romantic movie scenes for the video. Sabrina, The Philadelphia Story, and Roman Holiday are the movies these snippets came from.

Let’s pretend that we’re all alone
And there’s nothing to see on our shiny phones
And the children have all gone to bed
And there’s visions of each other dancing in our heads

And we know just what to do
And we feel a love so true
And the stars are shining bright
On this perfect pretend night
Buh duh duh dum bah bah bah dum

You go first and I’ll follow you
To the ends of the earth in these dancing shoes
That we’re making believe are on our feet
While we’re moving to a rhythm oh so slow and sweet

And we know just what to do . . .

Who cares the weather or how we feel
This is our secret world and we make it real
So let there be light in each other’s eyes
And magical nights under black velvet skies

And we know just what to do . . .

Forgive Everyone Everything

Sometimes I write a song just to help me process an idea or event. That’s the case with this one.

My daughter and I visited Reconciliation Park in Mankato, Minnesota, this past week, and these words “forgive everyone everything” were inscribed there. I felt them to be difficult and freeing, beautiful and irritating, controversial and common-sensical. In Mankato, in 1862, 38 Dakota men were publicly hanged by the United States government in the wake of the US-Dakota Conflict. This memorial and these words were placed here by native and white community members together, and you can read more about it here.

The last photo in the video is the tea tag I just happened to have with me as I was writing this song on Thursday.

Hate is a hard road
Rutted and narrow
Twisting and dragging on and on
Love is a river
and when you flow with her
you find yourself right where you belong

Forgive everyone everything

You didn’t start this
You cannot end it
But you can hold on to what is good
And wave it like wheat fields
And feel it like fireflies
Glowing like starlight in the woods

Forgive everyone everything

Breathe it in deeply
Breathe it out freely
Sing it like sunshine after rain

Forgive everyone everything

What We’re Fighting For

This week’s song came together from so many influences. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:

Peace, please, peace.

Afghani woman on BBC Newshour, 13 August 2021

Won’t you knock down all the walls that we built stable? / Tip them over and restore them to sturdy dinner tables

Nate Crary, Messy Mass liturgy, “Only By Our Lonesome” song

“Once There Was” – a song and an album by Carrellee. It’s really only that phrase that influenced the line in my song, “once there never was.” Just playing with words.

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” by Pete Seeger

Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .

Jesus, Matthew 5:3

You think you know all the right things to tell a fool like me
But I won’t hear you at all as long as this wall stands where a table should be

I am not so sure what we’re fighting for
Where have all the poor in spirit gone?

Once there never was all that we tell ourselves there was back then
Now is right where we are and right where we can begin to be again

I am not so sure what we’re fighting for
Where have all the poor in spirit gone?

“Peace, please, peace . . .”

We are stars and mud, spirit and spit fire and flood, brawn and brain
Ours are oceans unknown, deserts that patiently await the rain

I am not so sure what we’re fighting for
Where have all the poor in spirit gone?

I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

Emily Dickinson wrote this poem that’s been coming to my mind often lately. It feels more meaningful than ever right now, in our always-on-brand, everyone-pay-attention-to-me, social-media-saturated culture. Being nobody seems so very sane and wise in contrast. With enough nobodies we could change the world I think.

For further consideration, hear this episode of the “Another Name for Everything” podcast with Richard Rohr, discussing the idea of the cosmic egg, and specifically the dangers of over-focusing on “my story.”

Also this “Big Head” episode of Matthew Syed’s “Sideways” podcast, which happened to come up in my feed today and felt truly timely.

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Emily Dickinson