Tag Archives: Judy Collins

Report from June 20, 2016

awakening,Tom's rose

awakening, Tom’s rose

This morning I have been whistling snippets of Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  This pleased me because I love that music and because I was happy to note that I was whistling again.  I haven’t whistled much these last years. I think maybe one has to be more lighthearted than I am or have a younger mouth than I do. In any case, this morning’s whistling sounded pretty good to me.

I started whistling when I was very young.  I remember wandering around the backyard in Detroit just whistling. I don’t know how I learned to whistle, but I was proud of my skill. I did love to whistle Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah long before I understood the baggage that went with the song. My dad was a whistler, too.  Sometimes, when we were stuck waiting in the car, Dad would whistle to amuse us children.  He would whistle Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance and other war horses.

When I was in college, I used to whistle as I walked home alone at night from class or the library, but it wasn’t because I was scared.  It was because it was dark, maybe a little damp, and because the music I made sounded beautiful to me. I whistled the love theme from Zeffirelli’s movie Romeo and Juliet, various bits from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites, “I am a Maid of Constant Sorrow,” and, of course, the Sabre Dance.

For many years, I whistled a bit of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, ditties from medieval Christmas music, and whatever else my ear and mouth could pick up.

Late this morning, it finally dawned on me why I was whistling the Mendelssohn. It was Midsummer yet again, 42 years after Tom and I were married in Salt Lake City. That was long before life became so–I don’t know, less a romantic ideal and more visceral and earnest. We were lucky then with our dear family and friends with us to celebrate and we are lucky now to have each other still, even if the whistling is halting and off-key.

I don’t know if I ever whistled this song, but I surely sang it through all these years:

What I’ll give you since you asked
Is all my time together;
Take the rugged sunny days,
The warm and rocky weather,
Take the roads that I have walked along,
Looking for tomorrow’s time,
Peace of mind.

As my life spills into yours,
Changing with the hours
Filling up the world with time,
Turning time to flowers,
I can show you all the songs
That I never sang to one man before.

We have seen a million stones lying by the water,
You have climbed the hills with me
To the mountain shelter.
Taken off the days, one by one,
Setting them to breathe in the sun.

Take the lilies and the lace
From the days of childhood,
All the willow winding paths
Leading up and outward.
This is what I give
This is what I ask you for;
Nothing more

Judy Collins, “Since You’ve Asked,”  Wildflowers, 1967

In the High Sierras

In the High Sierras

Music for January

taking down the dogwood

taking down the dogwood

This morning the Woodson’s Complete Tree Service guys are taking down our dogwood tree.  I expect that this is not a foreshadowing of my or Tom’s early demise. After all, we aren’t as old in people years as the dogwood was in tree years. We sometimes wonder whether this tree was planted when the house was built.  If so, it would be 85 years old. In any case, the dogwood has had dieback for years and had to come down (see the post To Autumn).

Forgive me, it’s just that January’s short days and cold nights make me think long thoughts. I told you a while ago that I was going to write more about the 2014 road trip. I was hoping for a brief, yet comprehensive, summary of what we saw and felt and what we learned. Maybe later.

Back to January My mother died in January. Three years later my dad died in January. That was okay, really, but I do get a bit pensive whenever there is snow on the Pennsylvania and Ohio Turnpikes (the route we take from Virginia to Michigan for the funerals).

Music of the Spheres Tom bought some new speakers for the stereo system. So we had to try them out by listening to music we’d heard many times to see whether or not the new speakers sound significantly better than the older (by 20 years) speakers.*

The first song I listened to was “Secret Gardens” from Judy Collins’ True Stories and Other Dreams. I listened to it a couple of hundred times when my parents were dying and then died. Thinking back though, even in 1973 when I first owned the album, I cried when I heard this song. I cried Monday when I heard it again. I think they are tears of happiness: “I see you shining through the night through the ice and snow of winter.”

Next, we listened to Joan Baez’s version of “North Country Blues” from her Any Day Now: The Songs of Bob Dylan CD. I think I was checking out the speakers to see how they worked on pure human voices. Very well, I can report.

Next,  I made a quirky choice: “Land of the Navajo” by Peter Rowan. The majority of our CDs are still in storage, maybe that’s my rationale for choosing this CD. Or maybe it’s because, while the plot of the song is opaque to me, Rowan’s evocative yodels (or whatever they are) take me back to the land of the Navajo, which I love.

Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly

Tom chose Abbey Road, you know by whom. We listened from “Here Comes the Sun” through “Her Majesty.” I was astounded. They sang with the voices of angels. I hadn’t remembered that.

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

How did they know how to write “little darling” instead using heavier words? Baby, I’m amazed.

Next, we listened to “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” from Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde CD. Tom has been listening to this song since he was a teenager in the town he always characterizes as “the armpit of Utah.” Looks like songs of love and yearning may work anywhere. I note that I am a person from the lowlands.

Finally, we listened together to some songs from Judy Collins’ Wildflowers including “Since You Asked”:

What I’ll give you since you asked
Is all my time together;
Take the rugged sunny days,
The warm and rocky weather,
Take the roads that I have walked along,
Looking for tomorrow’s time,
Peace of mind.

As my life spills into yours,
Changing with the hours
Filling up the world with time,
Turning time to flowers,
I can show you all the songs
That I never sang to one man before.

We have seen a million stone lying by the water,
You have climbed the hills with me
To the mountain shelter.
Taken off the days, one by one,
Setting them to breathe in the sun.

Take the lilies and the lace
From the days of childhood,
All the willow winding paths
Leading up and outward.
This is what I give
This is what I ask you for;
Nothing more.

Maybe I can use this song as the summary of the road trip/marriage we’ve been on so far.

wildflowers

wildflowers


 

*The verdict on the speakers: I am not an audiophile. I don’t usually listen consciously for sound quality. Nonetheless, the minute I heard these speakers, I had a simile for Tom. The speakers are like my sugar cookies (really Joy of Cooking’s rich sugar cookies). They are so pure, simple, and unadulterated that a person used to inferior baked goods might not notice how delicious the cookies are. Same deal for the speakers.