One of my favorite voices belongs to a singer/songwriter/sailor/boat builder from Maine. His name is Gordon Bok. I’ve never sailed nor built a boat and I’ve never been to Maine. Thus, I don’t always understand what he’s singing about. He sings about north winds and waves and storms and nautical conversations with meteorological entities. He describes negotiations between fishermen and the elements. He keens of the fearful waiting of a fishing community awaiting either a reassurance of their loved ones’ return after a storm, or a mortal tally of the lost.
No, I don’t always understand his jargon or his tales, and I suspect that often what I do understand is incomplete and inaccurate.
But he sings so beautifully.
One of his songs, Turning Toward the Morning, resonates with me as this difficult year swirls around its sordid drain. In it, Mr. Bok describes;
“When October’s growin’ thin and November’s comin’ home, you’ll be thinking of the seasons and the sad things that you’ve seen. And you’ll hear that old wind walkin’, hear him singin’ high and thin. You could swear he’s out there singin’ of your sorrow.”
I heard that old wind.
I heard it a few years ago in a small vacation rental on the moors of Nantucket Island. It never ceased. It whispered and rumbled and insisted. It sighed and soughed and implied. It whistled and crooned and threatened. It was intimate and indifferent and in control. Janie and I fled back to Kentucky.
I hear that old wind now.
I hear it on the news. I sift the news of its reality show trappings as best I can. I know they’re driven to create desire in me for reverse mortgages, free transportation to my yearly checkups, clean gutters, drugs with manufactured names I can’t pronounce, miracle pillows, and miracle spring water. I don’t mind this hucksterism. Hell, I grew up thinking I could order eyeglasses from my comic books that would enable me to see through people’s clothes.
No, I need the news services for the facts I can glean, not for that old wind “singin’ of my sorrow.”
I hear that old wind in the concerns of my friends.
My friends are smart (most of the time), optimistic (most of the time), and want to do the next right thing (pretty much all of time). But, for the most part, they are not spring chickens. They fret to near bitterness that they will not get to see the results of the great repair job that will begin on January 20, 2021. That old wind murmurs that it will take time to inoculate everyone to thwart the pandemic, it will take time to re-staff and refocus our efforts to build the better country we were building before the vandals were allowed entrance, it will take time…
We still must begin.
We have begun before, and I for one enjoyed that beginning. I’ll enjoy this one as well.
Mr. Bok scratches his head over our fretting;
“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 shinin’ in the morning.”
Put your glories all behind you. Bow your head and let it go. There are new glories to create.
Ronald Reagan’s campaign told us “It’s morning in America.” (LOUD BUZZER) Wrong! Thank you for playing.
The morning is now.
It always is……now.
It will be glorious and exciting. Just what us geezer-refugees from the Age of Aquarius need…a mission bigger and longer-lasting than ourselves.
“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 is the dawning.
Be there shinin’.