Solstice ~ A Time for Turning

Woodworker and carver, sailor, musician, rememberer – Gordon Bok is an American treasure. You may know his work.  Two years ago I’d not heard his name and might have missed his music forever, were it not for the graciousness of a reader.

The topic under discussion had been music, and in an emailed post-script he added, “I can’t think of a better song than Turning Towards the Morning.”  Pointing me toward WAMC in Albany and their Saturday night broadcasts of the “Hudson River Sampler” he said, “I can almost guarantee you’ll hear something by Bok, if not this Saturday, then next Saturday for sure. And something by Stan Rogers as well. But you’ll also hear songs you’ve never heard before and will want to hear again.”

He was right. Since my introduction to Bok, to his fellow musicians Ed Trickett and Ann Mayo Muir and to their rich repertoire from an entirely different sea-faring culture, I’ve not stopped wanting to hear more. I’ve learned net-hauling songs and ballads of the Maine coast. I’ve marveled at Bok’s original work and delighted in his preservation of folk tales rooted in world-wide cultures. I’ve wondered at Bok’s pathway through life and been touched by his simplicity and kindness. I’ve even laughed at certain similarities between us.  “I didn’t understand what my father did because he worked in an office,” Bok says, “and there was nothing that came out of it that I could feel – you couldn’t put a coat of varnish on it.”

Despite my occasional reading and voracious listening, I still agree with my friend. There are good songs – even great songs – abroad in the land, but there’s no better song than Turning Toward the Morning.  Like a small-boat day on the water, it’s easy and rhythmic, perfectly designed to soothe away preoccupations and care. But it’s more than easy listening for an easy afternoon. It’s a poetic way of stating an inviolable truth – in the face of all that life has to offer, Life itself goes on. As Bok tells it,

“One of the things that provoked this song was a letter last November from a friend who had had a very difficult year and was looking for the courage to keep on plowing into it. Those times, you lift your eyes unto the hills, as they say, but the hills of Northern New England in November can be about as much comfort as a cold crowbar.
You have to look ahead a bit then, and realize that all the hills and trees and flowers will still be there come Spring, usually more permanent than your troubles. And if your courage occasionally fails, that’s okay, too. Nobody expects you to be as strong as the land.”

On this eve of solstice, at a time when Mayan apocalypse, financial collapse, legislative wrangling and unthinkable violence vie for top billing in our media, I can’t help but remember an old legend which echoes Bok’s song.

During a visit to Stonehenge during the winter solstice, I learned that the word itself comes from the Latin solstitium, a combination of sun (sol) and stoppage (stitium). As I was told, at the very moment of solstice it is not only the sun that stops. Those wise enough to choose a silent place, a quiet mind and a stilled heart will hear the earth herself cease motion, pausing as though to catch her breath while waiting for the sun to turn and move, then joining him anew in their ageless journey toward the spring.

What the legends proclaim and the heart dares hope, Bok’s song affirms. Despite appearances, despite the darkness of these solstice-shortened days, the world continues to turn – and always, it is turning toward the morning.

 

(“Turning Toward the Morning” recorded by Bok, Trickett and Muir  (1975) ~ Click to play)

When the deer has bedded down
and the bear has gone to ground
and the Northern goose has wandered off
to warmer bay and sound,
it’s so easy in the cold
to feel the darkness of the year
and the heart is growing lonely for the morning.
Oh, my Joanie, don’t you know
that the stars are swingin’ slow,
and the seas are rollin’ easy as they did so long ago.
If I had a thing to give you,
I would tell you one more time
that the world is always turning toward the morning.

When October’s growin’ thin
and November’s comin’ home,
you’ll be thinkin’ of the season
and the sad things that you’ve seen.
And you hear that old wind walkin’,
hear him singin’ high and thin,
you could swear he’s out there singin’ of his sorrow.
Oh, my Joanie, don’t you know
that the stars are swingin’ slow,
and the seas are rollin’ easy as they did so long ago.
If I had a thing to give you,
I would tell you one more time
that the world is always turning toward the morning.

So the darkness falls around you
and you hear the north wind blow
and you hear him call your name out
as he walks the bitter snow.
That old wind don’t mean you trouble,
he don’t care or even know,
he’s just walking down the darkness toward the morning.
Oh, my Joanie, don’t you know
that the stars are swingin’ slow,
and the seas are rollin’ easy as they did so long ago.
If I had a thing to give you,
I would tell you one more time
that the world is always turning toward the morning.

It’s a pity we don’t know
what the little flowers know
they can’t face the cold November,
they can’t take the wind and snow.
They put their glories all behind them,
bow their heads and let it go,
but you know they’ll be there shining in the morning.
Oh, my Joanie, don’t you know
that the stars are swinging slow,
and the seas are rollin’ easy as they did so long ago.
If I had a thing to give you,
I would tell you one more time
that the world is always turning toward the morning.

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Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 8:50 am  Comments (67)  
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  1. Hi Linda:

    “So the darkness falls around you
    and you hear the north wind blow
    and you hear him call your name out
    as he walks the bitter snow.”

    If this is your case in Canada, the United States, Norway, Iceland, or other cold country during December, hop on a plane and come on down to Panama where the North Wind lost his way.

    It’s warm and nice outside. No cold, no blizzards, no frozen rivers, no gray skies. The sun is always smiling on this side of the world and we also move towards the mornings as you eloquently wrote.

    Happy Holidays,

    Omar.-

    • Omar,

      After a nice, long, extended summer and late fall, something more akin to winter arrived at 3 a.m. this morning – complete with 50 mph wind gusts that rattled things pretty well. Now, it’s windy and cold – and I’m dallying just a bit before heading out to work.

      A lot of us have a love/hate relationship with winter. While I swear I’d not move back north, I love every bit of frost and snow that we get. There’s something about four seasons that I find satisfying, even though life in sunshine and warmth is a good bit easier!

      We’ll make it a point to keep the North Wind up here, and come down and visit your part of the world when we can’t stand it any more!

      Linda

  2. While others may predict “Doomsday Panic,” your words and Bok’s song are a balm to the uncertain.

    “Those wise enough to choose a silent place, a quiet mind and a stilled heart will hear the earth herself cease motion, pausing as though to catch her breath while waiting for the sun to turn and move, then joining him anew in their ageless journey toward the spring.”

    Lovely.

    • Martha,

      Thank you so much. I’ve loved this song since the first night I heard it. I’ve wanted to share it with others, but like Pattiann Rogers’ poem, these things are like jewels that need the right setting to really shine. I suddenly remembered it while thinking about the solstice turning, and thought, “Yes!”

      I suspect you’ve already figured out that it can bring as much comfort when dealing with a mother as with the Mayans.

      Linda

  3. It has been a long time since I tried to learn a song but the old guitar is still sitting by the couch.
    Gold Star!

    • Ken,

      Here’s a thread that has some discussion about tuning, chords, alternate keys and such.

      One thing that makes Bok so appealing is his use of the twelve-string. That’s what I mostly played back in the day, and if I were to replace anything I’ve let go in my life, it would be that guitar.

      Glad you enjoyed it – and believe me, it’s worth exploring his work. He’s extraordinarily generous with such information as lyrics, background, stories, technique tips and so on. But if he’d only left us this one song, that would have been enough – at least from my perspective.

      Happy practicing!

      Linda

  4. Linda, that song is lovely and I do mean that. Words can be idly typed to make the blogger and its receipent look good- but this was so nice and so uplifting. I must say that I could hear the song perfectly. That is the first time on a blog that a recording came through in the manner that it should. Wish I knew how or where you go to find these things. I will have to explore this at some point. I actually enjoyed this post

    Best regards,
    Yvonne.

    • Yvonne,

      It is such a lovely song, isn’t it? There are times when words and music fit together perfectly – I think this is one of those songs.

      The recording did come out well, didn’t it? I went to Amazon and paid ninety-nine cents for the privilege of downloading it off a recent album as an mp3 – that accounts for the good quality as much as anything. If you ever want to give it a try, just drop an email and I’ll walk you through the process.The player is from WordPress, and it works well.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I enjoy sharing things that are special to me, and this song really is.

      Linda

      • I will take you up on the instruction offer at some time in the future when things are settled for you and past holidays, etc. I am curious about how to get such good quality.

        And that song really is beautiful. You chose well.

        Yvonne

  5. I love the feeling of continuity in thinking the great world keeps turning and will beyond our time on the planet. And, also that the light will always follow the dark, you just have to let the world spin!!

    Thanks for sharing the song. It is comfortable! I agree with Yvonne that the little player did play the song with great clarity..sounded great!!

    • Judy,

      It’s funny – that continuity you speak of, the turning and spinning of the planet – feels somehow freeing to me. Yes, we have responsibilities. Yes, we need to care for one another and our world. But we’re not the ones in ultimate control. That seems to make some people nervous, but I’m content to be carried along.

      This is one of my two favorite sailing songs. Bok’s is for piddling around, gunkholing, days on the bay. Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” is for open ocean time. Both of them are pleasing – I’m glad you enjoyed this one – and I’m glad I figured out – technically – how to make it enjoyable!

      Linda

  6. I am so not into Christmas this year it borders on painful…

    Your post today was a middle ground. Not too jing-jingley, but rather a comforting balm. I’m glad you shared it my friend.

    Thank you.

    • Lynda,

      Christmas seems to be the Rorschach holiday – everyone who looks at it sees something different. And we see it differently from year to year. Old griefs come back to haunt us like Marley’s ghost, and new pleasures spring up without warning. But there isn’t any “perfect” celebration, and there aren’t any standards that we have to uphold. A candle here and a cookie there, and a little snow if we’re lucky – that sounds pretty good. I’m a great believer in the wisdom that says,”What is, is good enough”.

      I was in the mood for a little balm, myself. I’ve had about all the hype I can stand, and jing-jingley wasn’t going to do it. But there’s still room to celebrate life and anticipate the gifts it has to offer.

      Linda

  7. Thanks for the introduction Linda. There is something in the song that sounds like it’s been sung for generations.

    “Those wise enough to choose a silent place, a quiet mind and a stilled heart will hear the earth herself cease motion, pausing as though to catch her breath while waiting for the sun to turn and move, then joining him anew in their ageless journey toward the spring.”

    One can only hope wisdom comes often enough to make the sound of silence a familiar companion before there is no place left to soak it in…

    • Gary,

      Now that I think about it – being recorded in the 70’s means this one has been around for at least a couple of generations! But I take your point. Think about “Wildwood Flower”, “Old-Fashioned Love”, “Long Black Veil”… The ones that endure stay with us for a reason.

      As for silence – those who can’t stand silence won’t advocate for silence, or seek to preserve the silent oases of the world. If we raise generations of children and youth who spend their entire waking life plugged into gadgets, they won’t give a flip about what’s outside their limited worlds. I’m neither a Luddite nor a technophobe, but I remember a different life, and intend to keep advocating for its values. If nothing else, I may provide a little amusement now and then. ;)

      Linda

  8. I have listened to this song quite a bit over the year – not so much as a balm for all the bad things (although it certainly was) but as a reminder that it is okay to go ahead and enjoy the good.

    • Kit,

      That’s exactly right. When I listen to the song, I often think of Julian of Norwich’s famous quotation: “All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”

      With that kind of assurance, there’s nothing left but to go live life, to the fullest.

      Linda

  9. What a lovely story. This time of year is so hard for so many people – I LOVE that we don’t have to be stronger than the land!

    Loved the song too. Here’s to turning toward morning!

    • The Bug,

      Even without the Big Sorrows and the Big Anxieties, there are the personal griefs and the personal fears that can cast a shadow over the celebrations of the season. I love being reminded that the shadows will pass, the night will end, and we’ll be given the strength needed for a new day.

      The world turns, but we can turn, too – and sing right along while we’re turning!

      Linda

  10. Ahhh. Needed some calm. The earth does have songs and maybe if we listened more, people would be more in tune with themselves – and others? (Solstice at Stonehenge must have been remarkable…someday…got close, but didn’t make it, sadly.)
    With the wind comes a bit of time, thanks for sharing that.

    • phil,

      Enjoy the calm – there are suggestions the earth – or at least the skies – are going to be rocking and rolling on Christmas morning in our part of the world. I fear the fix is in – no snow this year, just thunderstorms.

      Ah, well. Cozy inside works with rain, too. Just tell those folks with the inflatables it might be time to go flat – discretion, valor and all
      that.

      It’s time to spend a little time listening – enjoying the songs that surround us.

      Linda

  11. Well, with such writing, with such song, winter surely redeems herself. I think I am going to stop for a time, and listen to the earth. Pax et gratia tecum, Linda.

    • Allen,

      Graciousness and peace don’t get much press, but clearly there are glimpses to be had, both in the turning of the natural world and in human celebrations that shine amid the darkness.

      We were taught as children to “stop, look and listen” as we made our way through the world. As it turns out, the advice does quite well for big people, too.

      Linda

  12. “The world is always turning toward the morning.” So simple and yet so amazingly profound. A good thought to keep in mind in these troubled times.

    • WOL,

      I’ve always thought Thoreau’s advice to simplify was good across the board, applicable to much more than that back closet that’s needed cleaning for years. When a songwriter (or any word-worker) finds a way to express life’s realities with perfect simplicity, the honesty can shine through, and touch our hearts.

      Linda

  13. I was alive in 1975, and the earth has done its share of turning in the 37 years since then, as have records on my turntable and CDs in my player, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard this pretty song. Thanks for bringing it to us, especially now that the sun stands at its low point in the Northern Hemisphere and people in cold places are inclined to feel similarly down.

    • Steve,

      I continue to be amazed by the number of worlds that are spinning away around us, as unseen as any distant planet. Bok’s music, carving, story-telling and nautical ties are well-known to so many people, and yet after years of sailing and working around boats, I’d never heard of him. Of course, the worlds of Caribbean cruising and New England boat-building are poles apart, and rarely the twain do meet!

      It is a pretty song. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Linda

  14. The winter solstice and cold places (particularly Canada), along with “Turning Toward the Morning,” remind me of the song “Four Strong Winds,” written by Ian Tyson and sung by Ian and Sylvia:

    • I’m not surprised. When I was introduced to Bok, my first response was, “He sounds like Ian Tyson”. I’ve admired Tyson for decades, and still have Ian and Sylvia’s first LP. (My guitar and I spent many hours with that recording, trying to replicate Tyson’s playing.)

      It’s not just a matter of voice. There are similarities between the two men that makes linking their art natural. In fact, I’ve had a blog post title in my files for over a year – “The Cowboy and the Sailor”. I’d thought that would be my way to introduce Bok here – in tandem with Tyson – but it didn’t happen. One of these days it will.

      Tyson’s appeal certainly hasn’t faded. He was Grand Marshall of the Calgary Stampede last summer. I didn’t go – but I certainly thought about it.

  15. Thank you for this. This is why I return to your site. You share such lovely, substantive reflections, here how you have “been touched by his simplicity and kindness.” I appreciate the words to follow along, hum and by the end join in on the chorus. These lines and the tune will be with me today —
    “If I had a thing to give you,
    I would tell you one more time
    that the world is always turning toward the morning.”
    Lovely song.

    • Georgette,

      As you know, I often have thoughts on what’s happening in our world, but I have feelings, too – water and music help me deal with those. Bok’s music is such a felicitous combination of elements – beautiful music, familiar topics and straightforward, honest performance. In a day often lacking in simple civility and marked by so much over-the-top nastiness, every bit of dignity and commitment to excellence is to be cherished. Bok has both.

      And it is a lovely song, just made for singing along. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Linda

  16. […] blogger Linda gives a nice explanation of what solstice means in her latest post, among other lovely words and a […]

  17. Solstice is an event that I “celebrate” (perhaps the better words are honor or recognize). In the dark days of December I always think of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” Bit by bit, second by second, we are getting our light back. My solstice tree reminds me by its very presence to stop and reflect — on the time behind and what is ahead.

    As always you introduce me to something new. I just love that! May your Solstice be lovely.

    • jeanie,

      I just was talking with a friend who’s actually calculated the extra seconds being doled out post-Solstice to her friends and relatives. I get four extra seconds tomorrow – or is it six? In any event, I intend to make good use of them!

      The darkness of winter doesn’t seem to bother me. How I’d cope at higher latitudes I don’t know. Here, I just regret that my work days get cut short. But I’ve always looked forward to the solstice, and loved “Here Comes the Sun”. For a while, I was part of a congregation which favored that as a Communion song – and their guitar players were good enough that it was enjoyable. That’s always a plus.

      I enjoyed seeing your solstice tree on your blog. I still have the journal you made with “Old Sol” on the cover. I haven’t been able to use that one yet. Maybe I should get it out and honor the season!

      Linda

  18. Beautiful words, Linda. Both yours and Bok’s.

    • Thanks, Gué. Now and then I come across something – a song, a poem, a quotation – I just have to pass on. The nice thing about this piece is that even without the music the words carry the rhythm nicely – the man’s a poet as well as a musician. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  19. Linda, that chorus makes me go all shivery, there’s something about the other voices coming in alongside the deep one, just beautiful. Thanks for introducing him.

    And so fitting for the solstice, turning toward the morning indeed. Stonehenge is absolutely amazing isn’t it? When you just see it there on the horizon, you never get bored – I travel that way quite often by car and am always a little in awe! I was actually at the last free festival there before the traveller scene was curtailed by the law – I think it was ’81, it was pretty much the last time you could touch the stones and I made the most of the moment, it was great being so close.

    I linked back to your post from my solstice holly tree post as I thought your description was much better than I could manage, given that I was in a bit of a sillier mood…hope you don’t mind!

    • Sarah,

      Bok’s wife, Carol Rohl, is a harpist, and the whole lot of them (Gordon, Carol, Muir and Trickett) have traveled and performed extensively in England and Scotland. Their music is beautiful, imbued with emotion. If you check the home page, which I’ve linked up above, you can keep an eye on the schedule. It looks like they plan ahead a good bit – and it also looks like I’m going to have to travel if I ever want to see them live.

      A friend who lives in Milton Keynes sent me a link to yesterday’s gathering at Stonehenge. It looked like a sales day at Macy’s. I still can’t get over the fact that I got to see it as it would have been for centuries – empty and accessible. I didn’t know for some time that it had gone off limits. When I found out, I was doubly happy to have been there. Who knows? Maybe you touched the same stone I did!

      I didn’t mind the linkage at all. I’ve not read it yet, but I saw your tree and admired it greatly. Somehow, it never had occurred to me that you could trim one up like that to make it even more attractive. Well done!

      Linda

      • Oh, I meant to say about the photos too – stunning.

        • Thanks! Not quite as stunning as that mutton shoulder, but we do try!

  20. Thank you, Linda. I love that song!

    • montucky,

      Isn’t it wonderful? Montana and Maine do have certain things in common, including a more obvious turning of the seasons. This is a perfect song for that cycle.

      By the way – I took the last photo of the snow-covered lantana in 2004, the year of Houston’s only Christmas Eve snow. We still call it The Christmas Miracle – the snow hugged the coast, and it was gorgeous. We had two inches here at my place. Most of us are still waiting for it to happen again. ;)

      Linda

  21. This was a perfect story and song to post this weekend. I didn’t know Bok’s music -thank you for introducing us to him. I enjoyed reading the lyrics along with the singing and I agree with earlier folks who complemented you on the great sound – good to know that we can share music without a YouTube video. (I have no idea how you downloaded it.)

    Bok’s deep rich voice reminded me a lot of Stan Rogers whom you mentioned in the beginning. What a sad day when Stan died in the plane crash – every time I listen to his Fogarty’s Cove I want to weep.

    My complements on the photos which I assume are yours? That moon is unbelievable!
    Happy Holidays Linda :-)

    • rosie,

      I’m tickled you know Stan Rogers. In a review of one of the books written about him, the author called him one of Canada’s “national treasures” – the same phrase I used for Bok. The two men had much more than that phrase in common – it’s such a shame Rogers died so early, and just as he was beginning to come into his own.

      The little music player’s available as a WordPress option. More and more people are using the SoundCloud player, but you have to sign up for that using Facebook, and I won’t use Facebook. In the end, I think this one does perfectly well, and I like the clean, uncluttered look it offers.

      I used that moon photo a couple of years ago for a “blue moon”/New Year’s post. It’s been doctored post-processed to get that rich color. My favorite still is the last – from our Christmas eve snow here in Houston. After I took it, I built a tiny snowman and stuck a lantana blossom in his hat. ;)

      Happy holidays – and happy memories – to you, too!

      Linda

    • Just to correct a common misunderstanding, Stan Rogers did not die in a plane crash. On June 2, 1983, he was returning to Canada (from the Kerrville Folk Festival) when a cabin fire forced the plane to make an emergency (and safe) landing at Cincinnati. Incoming air from the opened doors fueled the flames. There were 23 survivors. And 23 fatalities. Stan was 33.

      • Thanks for picking up on that, Al. It’s such a sad story, and yet, when I re-read the wiki, I noticed there have been no more Canadian air fatalities since that 1983 disaster.

        The list of changes made and the good safety record since suggests changes in airline regulations and adherence to better practices have increased passenger safety. It’s a history worth pondering in the midst of other safety discussions currently taking place.

        Best wishes for the holidays and the New Year!

        Linda

      • Thank you for correcting me Al. I wrote you a long reply and was just about to publish it, when I saw you’d thoughtfully provided the link to the plane crash so I went to check it out – and lost my comment. Grrr…

        My husband and I were living in Canada at the time Stan died and though I’d forgotten the details his death has always ‘haunted me” because he was so young, so talented and because after the plane made the emergency landing they just had 90 seconds to evacuate but they couldn’t wake Stan (he’d been drinking and I can’t remember whether he’d also taken a sleeping pill) so he died in his seat. I think of Stan Rogers whenever I fly – – – I never drink or take a sleeping pill even on those long overnight plane trips.

        I feel fortunate that my husband and I were able to see Stan performing. His voice still fills our home …
        Do you know whether his brother Garnet is still performing?

        • Well, now. This is interesting. Chris Gudgeon, who wrote “Stan Rogers: Northwest Passage” (with intro by Sylvia Tyson), recorded this comment to a reader of his entry at Geist.com:

          ” It is true that Stan was assisting others to deplane when he succumbed to smoke inhalation. That detail was confirmed both by the inquest and I have it directly from Stan’s widow, Ariel.
          And yes, those actions were very much in character. He was a large and tall man with an equally large heart, and one can easily see him concerned for other “slighter” humans on the burning plane.”

          Hagiography or biography? There can be a thin line sometimes, and your story is so different from Gudgeon’s they can’t both be true – or could they?

          What we do know is that Garnet is still performing. His home page is here.

          • I heard the initial news reports but didn’t follow the inquest proceedings so I’m more than delighted to be corrected Linda.

            Many thanks for the link to Garnet’s home page. [something’s not correct when I don’t have time to do a simple google-search myself.]

            Do you also still listen to Stan Rogers music?

            • Well, I’m curious enough now that I’ll follow up on the story. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that memories and the internet both can be unreliable! And yes, I do listen to Rogers. One of my favs is “White Collar Holler” . You might even get a kick out of it on a bad day at work!

  22. Your readers may be surprised to learn that there’s a replica of Stonehenge in the Texas Hill Country:

    http://www.hcaf.com/foundation/stonehenge/default.htm

    • Isn’t that wonderful? It’s always tickled me that it’s slightly smaller than the real Stonehenge – as it should be, even if it’s in the Land of Large we call Texas. I suppose it would have been harder to pry away the real thing than it was for Arizona to get the London Bridge, which already was up for sale. ;)

  23. Mmmm. I like the comfort and confidence in those lyrics.

    • nikki,

      I do, too. There’s poignancy, a little bitter-sweetness, an acknowledgement of pain, but I always – always! – feel better when I listen to the song. I’m glad you like it, too.

      Linda

  24. “Those wise enough to choose a silent place, a quiet mind and a stilled heart will hear the earth herself cease motion, pausing as though to catch her breath while waiting for the sun to turn and move, then joining him anew in their ageless journey toward the spring.|”

    Why do some of us so easily listen to those nudgings, and others are oblivious? I love marking the few days up to the solstice and then ones that follow, though this year too many obligations prevented that quiet time. ah, but it’s so special!

    happy holidays!
    z

    • Z,

      The days between Christmas and New Year’s Day have some of that same quality for me. I love the sense of movement, of possibility. Usually, I put up the Christmas tree the week before Christmas and leave it until Epiphany, but not always. This year, it’s been up for two weeks and will be down before New Year’s day. I’m ready to move on.

      Perhaps sensitivity to the turnings of the world is as much a talent as the ability to paint, or compose, or work creatively in the kitchen. Some people can parent large families with no apparent effort, others are so awkward around children it’s painful. Who knows? But even those without natural talent can learn a good bit. Certainly, increasing numbers of people are hoping we can learn to listen to our world with sensitivity and care.

      Linda

      • it seems that more and more people are turning to yoga, and that’s one way they can learn to quiet the mind.

        i hope that 2013 is kind and good to you! i cherish knowing you! z

  25. I love his comment about the varnish. Though I’ve never varnished a thing, I agree with the sentiment entirely. Must note, too, that I remember, with pleasure, the photograph you include of the long tree shadows. I’ve been mostly offline lately, focusing on the pleasure of reading yer actual books. Had almost forgotten how wonderful it is to do that.

    May your New Year be bright!

    • Susan,

      What a wonderful holiday pursuit! I hope there’s a fireplace to go with those books, and perhaps a little something else to help take the chill off. I have a few books stacked, but haven’t gotten to them yet. It appears we may be getting substantial rain in the coming week, so there may yet be hope.

      It was a pleasure for me to bring out that photo again, and remember your post as well as the little poem. It reminds me of my conviction that blogs build their own history – a history that contains far more than we imagine when we begin.

      Life in the real world – that is, the physical world – can be such a blessing. Vanishing, cooking, gardening, making music if not the instruments themselves – it’s all so satisfying. I can’t help remembering one of the funniest bits ever from Annie Dillard, re: mind and body:

      “The mind wants to live forever, or to learn a very good reason why not… The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy. The dear, stupid body is easily satisfied as a spaniel. And, incredibly, the simple spaniel can lure the brawling mind to its dish. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious mind will hush if you give it an egg.”

      Happy New Year to you!

      Linda

  26. Makes me think of Gordon Lightfoot, whom I always like to hear. You find the neatest things, but it comes from taking cues in comments and emails and not letting those cues pass you by, thereby missing out on a jewel like this song. And you know what? I needed to be reminded that the world is always turning toward the morning.

    • BW,

      Gordon Lightfoot certainly does belong in this discussion. Isn’t it funny that Lightfoot, Tyson, and k.d. Lang all are Canadians, and that Bok is from Camden, Maine – about as close to the Canadian Maritimes as you could get? Everyone knows “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, but I have to put “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” right up there.

      As for “finding stuff” – have you ever watched a beagle go after a rabbit? That’s me. ;)

      Well, we’re almost to 2013, and the world is a-turnin’. I think this year will be better than last. If it’s not better, at least it will be different – and it will keep turning toward the morning.

      Linda

  27. You know it seems music has been re-categorized over the years — but I would put this in “folk music” … and I LOVE it!! Thank you for introducing me to it … provides additional balm to the spirit!! :D

    • I REALLY enjoy reading the comments of your followers and your responses … an additional delight!! Thank you!!

      • WordPress just came out with their end-of-year stats review. It’s a nice thing, interesting in its way, but it certainly doesn’t capture the rich satisfaction of the dialogues we have here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s the interaction that helps to make a blog a blog. Otherwise, I might as well take these entries on a telephone pole and walk away!

        Happy New Year!

        Linda

    • becca,

      And by putting it in “folk music”, you’d be right in line with all the other folks who describe it. Contrary to what some would have us believe, there still are “just folk” out here who like our music! It is a wonderful song – I know you’d enjoy exploring more of his work. It is calming, without being sappy or sentimental. Great stuff.

      Linda

  28. A beautiful song, Linda. For better or for worse (depending on how you look at it), with only relatively short exceptions, I’ve lived my life in places where the winters are quite mild, and the four seasons are not that strongly marked. Therefore, it’s always a special thrill for me to see snow, for example.

    • Andrew,

      We have the same experience here. When the differences among the seasons are so slight, even the most subtle change takes on new value. We don’t have much snow at all – perhaps once every two or three years – so even some sleet or really, really heavy fog gets our juices flowing. And without the gorgeous autumns of more northerly states, we learn to make do with the few trees and vines that do take on a bit of red or yellow.

      There’s a reason so many people travel for “leaf-peeping”. They’re nature deprived!

      Linda


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