On the Upside of the Grass

I went to a backyard concert this afternoon.  About fifty of us sat under the trees, listening to folk music from fifteen performers.  Finally … live music.

A week ago, I was at the US Open tennis tournament.  The sound that I loved was waves of cheering.  Today it was the sweet blending of voices and the improvised runs coming from the fingers of a fiddler.  Tennis and music – two homes for me.

One of the last songs talked about the title of this piece … a celebration of being alive, of being out and about with other human beings, enjoying community life once more.  I smiled a lot.

Earlier, Barry and Joanne joined voices in the song “Keep Me In Your Heart”:

Hold me in your thoughts
Take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes
Keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you
Keep me in your heart for awhile

And then Paul Mills came onstage to sing “Forty-Five Years”.   Stan Rogers wrote this song.  For years, before Stan died in 1983, Paul was his manager and sometimes guitarist.  Two or three years ago, I was at a tribute concert to Stan in Toronto, at Hugh’s Room.  At the break I asked Paul if he would sing “Forty-Five Years” before the evening was done.  He sadly told me that the group of performers was locked into a set list, and that my song wasn’t on it.  I sighed.

Time stretches from the past and today I got to hear the words I wanted to come from Paul’s mouth:

And I just want to hold you closer than I’ve ever held anyone before
You say you’ve been twice a wife and you’re through with life
Ah, but honey, what the hell’s it for?
After twenty-three years you’d think I could find
A way to let you know somehow
That I want to see your smiling face forty-five years from now

Paul sang
I sang along
The trees whispered

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