Sing Along

posted April 19, 2009

I’m in the middle of the writing retreat. One would think now would be the time for a nice long juicy posting, but instead, I’m trying to finish a song and also trying to plug away at this book proposal about music and family, so this will be a super shortie.

Two things: one is that I feel happier than I’ve ever felt before in my whole life right this minute. Tonight after a chicken dinner with Tom’s famous crack brownies for dessert, we writers hung around in the living room talking as if we’d known each other all our lives. As you might recall, one of the writers there was someone I really had known my whole life, and what a delicious gift it was to catch up. Then someone called for guitars. Lila sat on my lap and sang “Sidewalks of New York” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” while I played. We sang other songs, too: “Homeward Bound,” “Sweet Baby James” and “It’s the End of the World As We Know It.” We sang the “Garden Song” which we’ll be learning in HooteNanny 9, and as we sang a song so familiar to me but still unfamiliar to Lila, and as I watched her begin to absorb it, sitting there in the middle of a group of people she had only just met but who were already intimate with each other, I had the wonderfully strange sensation of all the parts of my world coming together. Since I was a child who was blessed with parents who sang in this communal way, I have always wanted to provide that for my own children. Johnny crawled around as Lila sang, absorbing it in his own way. They have music. My work feels aligned.

The second: at some point this afternoon, my eye caught a scene out the window. At first I thought what I was seeing was some kind of cult leader with some of his followers. The cult leader was wearing long white robes and seemed to have one of his arms raised in a peculiar fashion. Then I realized he was attached to an IV. He was a hospital patient out for a walk with two friends. Looking more closely, they appeared to be in high school. One of the friends had his hand on the patient’s back. I was glad it was warm for them.

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