Walking the dog the other morning the air was heavy with the sweet, sticky scent of honeysuckle warmed by the morning, the humidity laying the fragrance across my skin like a caress. It’s such a part of my sense profile, that I’ve never imagined a world in which those fragrant vines didn’t spill from a wood’s edge, or tumble over rocks and stumps.
Yet, a year or so ago the girls and I were wandering the summit of Little Round Top in the summer dusk, the rocks there laced by honeysuckle, so that an evening stroll wafts heated honey sweet ribbons, punctuated by the diesel of tour buses, and the occasional acrid saltpeter smell of a cannon demonstration rolling up the face of the hill. One of those buses had disgorged an evening tour group onto the hill, rowdy with seat boredom, they rambled over the rocks completely disregarding the tour leader ineptly trying to tell a cogent historical tale. As the girls & I watched, several stopped near a lush spray of honeysuckle seemingly bemused, “what’s this,” “have you ever smelled anything like it?” “does it have a name,” Laughing, the girls and I told them it was honeysuckle, and we showed them how to pinch the blossom and catch that honey pearl on your tongue. They said they had never heard of it — that back in Utah they didn’t have it (could that be true?).
Swerving back on course, as the dog and I walked god-awful early on a scent drenched summer morning, I realized that I couldn’t be utterly miserable living in a world that woke me to such pleasure. I’m not generally a pessimist. When someone sticks that ubiquitous half glass of water in front of me, I want to get a pitcher and just fill it already. Not that there isn’t genuine sadness in the world, the day and yes, sometimes my life. I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been times when my friends Ben, Jerry & the Gallo brothers commiserated with me through a dark black endless night.
My nights of woe seem tame compared to those of America’s macabre prince, Edgar Allan Poe. His life mimics the Gothic form and his sorrows tearstain pages in Annabel Lee and some of his other poems… yet one of the most beautiful (to my mind) is a lesser known piece directed at untrammeled nature laid before him in pristine order opening the senses for love and life. .. Enjoy!
So sweet the hour, so calm the time,
I feel it more than half a crime,When Nature sleeps and stars are mute,
To mar the silence ev’n with lute.
At rest on ocean’s brilliant dyes
An image of Elysium lies:
Seven Pleiades entranced in Heaven,
Form in the deep another seven:
Endymion nodding from above
Sees in the sea a second love.
Within the valleys dim and brown,
And on the spectral mountain’s crown,
The wearied light is dying down,
And earth, and stars, and sea, and sky
Are redolent of sleep, as I
Am redolent of thee and thine
Enthralling love, my Adeline.
But list, O list,- so soft and low
Thy lover’s voice tonight shall flow,
That, scarce awake, thy soul shall deem
My words the music of a dream.
Thus, while no single sound too rude
Upon thy slumber shall intrude,
Our thoughts, our souls- O God above!
In every deed shall mingle, love
–> Serenade by Edgar Allan Poe
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning –> Psalms 30:5
- Ballad of the Sad Young Man (David Sanborn) — cool jazz, Sanborn is the anti-Kenny G, which is a great thing
- Everybody be Yo’self (Keb Mo’) — roots/folky blues singer who has the most delightful way of interpreting songs.
- My Lonely Sad Eyes (Maria McKee) — she used to be lead singer of Lone Justice, and she has a few incredible solo cuts that she torches…
- Sad & Deep as You (Dave Mason) — this one has a Kerouac vibe as you descend into a smoky deep darkness
- Lost your Head Blues (Bessie Smith) — if you want someone to articulate your 16-bar sorrow, there is no one better, “when you was lonesome, I tried to treat you kind…”
- I gotta Right to Sing the Blues (Louis Armstrong) — and counterpoint. For all the Satchmo happy vibe, he could growl out the blues like no one else
- Modern Woman (Dogs die in Hot Cars) — she has no trouble deciding everything will be fine…
- Two Years too Blue (Lisa Stansfield) — jazzy standard that asks yes or no, can it, should it? One of the best movie soundtracks out there!
- Song Sung Blue (Neil Diamond) — a standard and one of the best definitions of how much works for me ever…
- Whoever Said it was Easy (Delbert McClinton) — rockabilly blues from a master — he is way too under appreciated!
- Black & Blue (Edie Brickell & New Bohemians) — “you got more to give me than your sorrow..” such a great rising above song!
- Bad Love (Eric Clapton) — ok, the lyrics are almost optimistic, but omg the guitars in this song make me so happy!!!
- Blue Eyes Cryin in the Rain (Willie Nelson) — lyrically incomparable, the simple melody underscores the sorrow — a gray spangled fabric of emotion
- Tangled Up in Blue (Bob Dylan) — such a saga, reminds me of a pink sweater, twisted sheets and lots of rock & roll.
- Talking is Good (Animal Logic) — irony Indie rock style — rather apt at times
- Staying’s Worse that Leaving (Sunny Sweeney) — the tipping point — when you do make a decision???
- Sad Songs (say so much) (Elton John) — one of those songs that at the end you are smiling & you know it has nothing to do with the lyrics.
- Do Wrong Right (Devil Makes Three) — how to “make a little mess” great band…
- Go with it (Shelby Lynne) — beginning anew, a new day “you know it feels good”