The Woods

I’m a little behind adding my songs to my blog. This one was written for week 43 of #songaweek2021, the last week of October, two days after my 46th birthday. At the very end of the video is a little clip from a walk I took on my actual birthday, in the woods at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve. It was so quiet and solitudinous (if that’s not a word it should be) on a Tuesday afternoon. One of the few other people I saw that day was a woman riding a horse, talking on her cell phone and – would you believe it – singing happy birthday to whoever was on the other end!

I’ve always loved the woods. I wanted to name a band “The Woods” once. I said, “we could tell people, we’re lovely dark and deep!” This song is certainly a hat tip to Robert Frost (“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and of course “The Road Not Taken”) and Henry David Thoreau (Walden – “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately . . .”).

I do quite a bit of songwriting in the woods. I walk and think and hum and make little voice memos on my phone. It’s something about the full-body movement, the fresh air, the sense of passing through a different world or state of being. Most of my woods walks are on the same two trails in my neighborhood, where I feel deeply acquainted with individual trees and every turn of the trail – the sameness is comforting – and yet, the weather, the seasons, the wildlife . . . means it is never the same. I think it’s a multisensory reminder of so much that is true about everything in life.

I go out walking on a cloudy afternoon
Under a gray sky but I don’t feel the blues
I’m taking my wild soul to the woods

I’m gonna treat her to bright October trees
She loves the sugar and spice of dying leaves
I’m taking my wild soul to the woods

And you with all your cares
You just might like it there

We keep on going though wind and winter come
When all around us are silent skeletons
I still take my wild soul to the woods

She feels the heartbeat of life in everything
She hears the music and teaches me to sing
She only asks I take her to the woods

And you with grief and tears
You might find comfort here

Some sunny morning I’ll find the first green thing
And hear a warm wind whispering of spring
And my wild soul will take me to the woods

We’ll go on rambles that widen with the days
Through the meadows and round ten thousand lakes
But my wild soul and I
I and my wild soul
Will always and ever love the woods

And you with heart so true
Might want to go there too

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

Love’s Alive

Very limited time to write this week but I was feeling inspired in the afternoon I allotted myself today to write and record this song. For spring, for Easter, for love and life . . .

Pick up your questions and put down your weapons 
And don’t be afraid anymore
There’s something to see here if you care to be here
Don’t be afraid anymore

Oh . . . love’s alive

The birds are returning, the babies are learning
Don’t despair today
The cold ice is breaking the warm earth is waking
Don’t despair today

Oh . . love’s alive

Share with your neighbor, welcome the stranger
Believe you have enough
Give yourself mercy, be patient dear person
Believe you are enough

Oh . . . love’s alive

Beautiful Mundane

I confessed to my husband the other day that I don’t usually like it when he walks in the door at the end of the workday and gives me a kiss. It’s just too mundane, I said. Routine drives me mad, I whined.

Which on further consideration is laughable, because neither of us works full-time and so it’s rarely more than two or three days in a week that he’s even walking in the door at the end of the workday.

Confession is good for the soul. I think I needed to actually hear myself saying those words in order to write this song, and this song has been good for my soul.

A couple allusions/credits – I didn’t come up with “the meaning of life is to live.” It’s one of my all-time favorite quotes. I was sure it was from Leo Tolstoy, but my Google search doesn’t seem to confirm that. The closest I could come to a source was Goodreads citing Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” I still think it came from one of those broody Russians I love reading though, Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky.

And “tell a better story” is an idea I absorbed from reading Life of Pi.

“Mundane” has its roots in the Latin word “mundus” meaning “world.” It means ordinary, everyday, “of, pertaining to, or typical of this world.” Maybe it is something worth paying attention to, if it’s your world.

If I believed the world had need
Of another sad song
I’d go on like this, go on like this
Till we’re all bored to tears
But I believe the world don’t need
A thing I have to give
And that the meaning of life
Is to live

It’s all right here
Right where nobody’s looking
The beautiful mundane

Remember when, see it again
Tell a better story
The living truth
That changes everything
It was a long time ago
Until we saw the light
And felt the warmth
And held each other close

It’s all right here
Right where nobody’s looking
The beautiful mundane

I still believe in falling leaves
And transient twilight
And shards of broken dreams
The waves of time smooth and reshape

It’s all right here
Right where nobody’s looking
It’s all right here
And you and me’d best be looking
The beautiful mundane

 

 

Cold Night In (Lovely Lost Cause)

Week 50! This is one of those songs where the suggested theme (from #songaweek2018) actually caused the song to be written. I wouldn’t have gone this direction at all if it weren’t for the suggested word, “metal.”

Not much I want to say about this song – I think we’ve all been here from time to time and know something about it. The cycle of love, the journey of living well. The bridge (“thieves break in and steal . . .”) comes from Matthew 6:19-20, that little passage about storing up treasures in heaven rather than earth. I interpret that not as sacred versus secular; but cosmic, big-hearted wisdom versus short-sighted, me-and-mine foolishness.

My heart’s made of metal
invincible steel
that’s why when you hold me
there’s nothing to feel

It’s a cold night in
It’s a lovely lost cause

I swam in the ocean
I crawled up on land
but there’s no harder journey
than the one to your hand

It’s a cold night in
It’s a lovely lost cause

Thieves break in and steal
Moth and rust corrupt

Come light your best fire
to melt me all down
I’m sick and I’m tired
But I’m coming around

On this cold night in
For this lovely lost cause