The Road the Day the Ground the Clouds

At last, my #songaweek2022 group used a photo for a prompt instead of a word or phrase. This felt like a game-changer to me in terms of connecting with a prompt for inspiration. I think the photo was of the Great Wall of China, but I thought of a road, then of the song from The Hobbit that starts, “the road goes ever on and on. . . ” and I went from there.

I felt like deliberately slowing down in the writing and playing of this song, and so I did.

If you listen closely and/or with headphones you might be able to hear the crickets singing along outside the open window.

The road goes ever on
And over it a song
That if you hear will draw you near
to where you never know where you might go

The day lies before you
And with it much to do
But there’s a song that draws you on
To where you always know you’re going home

The ground carries your load
The clouds catch evening’s glow
They’re changing you, and changed by you
Till everything will never be the same

The Way of Wonder

Life continues to be a bit crazy around here as we moved our oldest to college last week and two of us go back to school here at home (middle school lunch lady and high school sophomore). I mean not here at *home* but in our hometown. I mean not actually our town but the next one over, which is only a few blocks away. But I digress.

All that to say I’m still not back to finishing a song every week. This one was started last week and wrapped up and roughly recorded this week. Not one of my favorites but it’s just good to write again!

Here on the water in the middle of the land
You can hear the wind, it’s whispering through the wings of birds above you
And here in the forest surrounded by the trees
You can feel the pulse of all the being things around you
Ooooh. . . . and that’s called home

Deep in the hollows of your heavy heart
There is still a song reverberating in this moment
Lapsing synapses at the back of your brain
Keep trying all the ways they know to tell the story how it goes
Ooooh . . . . and that’s called life

And you
You will be well
You will find wisdom in the way of wonder

Summer ’22

Here’s a song exploring the balance of individual freedom with community responsibility. The first lines came to me soon after I heard the news that Roe v. Wade had been overturned. They might just as easily have come from the mouth of an anti-masker a couple years ago. The next lines are a reminder that I have changed my opinion multiple times in my life and I’m likely to do it again – so I’m learning to hold less militantly to any position, and trying to pay closer attention and care to the people around me.

The prompt for this week 31 of #songaweek2022 was “armed and dangerous,” which brought to my mind the awful number of gun fatalities we’ve had right here in my city just this summer, not to mention the wider world.

The first lines of the little bridge at the end (“the rains come down and the floods go up”) came from a song I learned in Sunday School many years ago – about the wise man who built his house on a rock and the foolish one who built his house on the sand (thus the “sands of time” line for my further allusionary pleasure). I’m thinking here about actual flooding and wildfires, resulting from our foolish refusal to build sustainable systems that acknowledge our limits and our need to care for ourselves and our planet.

More than ever, I’m convinced that the way forward is the way of love – not blind sentiment but thoughtful, engaging, respectful and compassionate care for whoever I find myself facing, physically or virtually or however else, at the present moment.

Here’s something I read this week that I immediately cut and pasted in my notes, said by Valarie Kaur – “Listening does not grant the other side legitimacy. It grants them humanity—and preserves our own.”

I would probably do what they want me to
But since they took away my right to choose
I feel uneasy

So many things I used to rail against
Now they kind of make some sense
I take it easy

Think for yourself but please don’t stop there
Think about everybody else

I’ve been trying hard to hear the truth
But with all these voices shouting the news
It isn’t easy

And the heat sets in and the tempers rise
And the guns come out and somebody dies
It’s far too easy

Think for yourself but please don’t stop there
Think about everybody else

And the rains come down and the floods go up
As we race against the sands of time
And the fires burn and the tanks roll in
And the wide world weeps and the hearts of humans break

Think for yourself but please don’t stop there
Think about everybody else

I Can’t Forget How it Felt

We’re back from a 16-day, 15-state road trip over the course of which (including prepping for it) I missed three weeks of songwriting. But I spent good time with lovely people in beautiful places. Not a bad trade!

Every summer, fragrance or music or the way the light falls or the wind breathes recalls to me other summers – and I’m inspired to write songs like this one, feeling again those summers of my adolescence, that felt deep and wide and like I lived whole wonderful lifetimes through them. And – part of the joy of aging is that I think I’m once again starting to live more like my favorite parts of those summers – rediscovering the beauty and joy of my life through all my senses. It is good.

Silver starlight, lilac breeze, windows open wide
Something ventured, something lovely gained
Spring becoming summer, woman grown from tender child
I was never going to be the same

I can’t forget how it felt, can’t remember what happened
I fell under your spell, got mixed up in your magic

Moonlight on the road, whisper of leaves through the yard
Evening breathing cool upon my skin
Music in the wind and new horizons in my heart
I close my eyes and it comes back again

I can’t forget how it felt, can’t remember what happened
I fell under your spell, got mixed up in your magic

Sunshine and the birds are singing, cold rain, I’m alone
It doesn’t really make much difference
I hold you in the deepness where I keep the love I’ve known
And spread you out in everything I bless

I can’t forget how it felt, can’t remember what happened
I fell under your spell, got mixed up in your magic

Two Lost

This is one of those songs I don’t feel like saying too much about. It’s shaded with some personal experience but I was also thinking (feeling?) about lots of other things including but not limited to face slaps, cancel culture, love and war.

And if I told you all
What kindness could you offer me
Who caused you pain, me
Who you have reason to blame?

I’ve fallen far from grace
Misspoken, made mistakes that you
Can not forget, you
Have never wanted to yet

Try as I might I cannot
Make it right without you
And your heart in the game
Cause it takes two to win
And right now we’re just two lost

We’ve both been hiding from
The truth we can’t face up to here
Where we’re so scared, here
Where life’s pathetically fair

I’m thinking if I go
You might just think it over then
When I’m gone, then
When you’re old and alone

Try as I might I cannot
Make it right without you
And your heart in the game
Cause it takes two to win
And right now we’re just two lost

What if we start again
Who says we can’t imagine more
Than what we had, more
Than in and out, good and bad

Try as I might I cannot
Make it right without you
And your heart in the game
Cause it takes two to win
And right now we’re just two lost