“…Let us turn our thoughts today
to Martin Luther King.
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood…”
I’ve been grading papers and cleaning up the house today, enjoying an almost-full day at home which is rare and therefore celebrated.
I had headphones on listening to James Taylor because the day felt right for it, and I froze the moment I heard the above lyrics.
They are from a song of JT’s, someone whose music I was raised on and therefore have ingrained somewhere deeply in my subconscious, called “Shed a Little Light.”
What made me freeze, I think, was the memory that the song immediately brought to the surface in the ways only music can. Frozen, trash bag in hand, I could see it crisply.
We would drive to the beach every year in the summer as a family, grandparents, cousins, everybody. And whenever the four of us, Dad and Mom up front and Jamey and me in the back seat, I remember when this song would come up on the tape player. We immediately split into parts, and sang the whole song through. Maybe it’s just the beauty of remembering, but I think we were pretty good too.
“…We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound, and we are bound…”
In my frozen state today, it became clear to me the power of shared values that make themselves at home somewhere deep within us, and as we grow, they influence all we do for better or for worse, and sometimes without our even knowing what is happening.
I stood frozen, headphones on, dogs staring, singing my part at the top of my lungs. Those lyrics came out from somewhere deep within me, and I was amazed at how they continue to reflect what I value most deeply, or at least what I want to value most deeply on the days where I’m more the person I hope to be.
“…There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest..
Shed a little light, oh Lord.”
Here’s to childhood road trips, to family, and to the things we’ve forgotten we will always remember.
Pine Tree Dr.
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A great song connected with a wonderful story! I too grew up on James Taylor, and still listen to his music often.
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