Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Last Song of the Night

Two or three times a week, I sing on my back deck. I imagine that I'm singing to the stars or to the trees or to the moon or to the spirit world, and I'm convinced that this practice has kept me sane for at least 25 years. Reading and humor have helped a lot, but it's the singing that I can't do without for very long.

Since I've had an iPod, an element of randomness has been introduced to this ritual of mine. Now, I can shuffle my collection and skip along until I find something that appeals to my mood. There are some songs that I keep coming back to, but it's usually a mix that covers a range of thoughts and emotions so I don't get stuck in one style the way I sometimes used to do.

I don't put a time limit on the singing and I never know how long it's going to last. Tonight I sang for over an hour, but sometimes I sing only three or four songs, or I can go on for two hours or more. Some songs are sung softly, others projected. I've confused the bats more than once.

It tends to be the song itself that announces the end. When I feel happy and satisfied, then I know it's a wrap for the night.

This evening the song was "Julia," which was written by John Lennon. "Julia" was written for John's mother Julia Lennon who was run over and killed by a drunk driver (an off-duty policeman) in 1958. Some of the imagery seems to suggest Yoko Ono as well.

The version of the song I prefer is performed by his son Sean during a special event honoring his father. The show went on, even though it was in New York not too long after the tragedy of 9/11. This event - "Come Together" - brought out the best from the performers and the audience, and it still touches me to watch the video and hear the brilliant loving performances. And it reminds me of what we - as Americans - can be.

Tonight, I made that song my own. It was the perfect goodnight to the moon. It is a wistful lullaby song of love and longing and sweetness and sadness. Enjoy.

Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you

Julia, Julia
ocean child, calls me
So I sing a song of love

Julia, sea shell eyes,
windy smile, calls me
So I sing a song of love

Her hair of floating sky
is shimmering, glimmering
In the sun

Julia, Julia,
morning moon, touch me
So I sing a song of love

When I cannot sing my heart
I can only speak my mind

Julia, sleeping sand,
silent cloud, touch me
So I sing a song of love

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