Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Considering the Birds

I've been considering the birds
Now that the snow is finally melting, oh
They shed their winter coats
And shape and shine their yellow notes
For sun's returning
Lean forward, spread their wings
To meet the change the season brings
Oh, Spring
Welcome, please come in.

Late March view from the River House
April has brought more sunny days, and the snow is retreating into smaller and smaller patches, lurking in the shade of the Ponderosa pines. It won't last long; rumors has it this week will reach 70 degrees. Everyone is elated. The garden's all clear now, and just a few days ago, I saw a passel of teenage boys run down to the river, doff their shirts and jump in to the icy waters. "You're hardcore!" I called to them, and they laughed.

Brave, cold April swimmers
March galloped by us here at the Guild, and before I was ready, it was time for our Spring Songwriting Workshop. I've participated once before, in the summer of 2012, when we were given a handful of days to write a complete song and then perform it for an audience(!). So this time I knew what I was in for, and I was a little better prepared. I came in with a song concept, with a handful of disconnected phrases and bits of melody, and even that little bit was far better than having no idea what to write. I don't often write songs, but there's nothing like peer pressure and a looming deadline to squeeze out my creative juices.

You've come so far to join us here
Come in, take off your heavy sweater, oh
There's time to take a chair
And tell us what you saw out there
In other places
Then twist our heavy heads
And tumble fast into our beds
Oh, Traveler
Welcome, please come in.

It was almost the same crowd as in 2012. Oh, there were a few faces missing, and a few new ones, including my good buddy Mitch from Chicago. But it was the same cameraderie, the same warm encouragement, the same good-natured ribbing, the same surplus of candy and tasty beverages. Mitch commented on the lack of ego in this group: everyone was invested in everyone else's song, and the cheers of the crowd at the closing performance, in the community living room Sunday morning, were loud and heartfelt.

Sunlight finds the front porch of the Centrum
The resulting songs were pleasantly diverse, ranging from a simple peace chorus to a comical history of the Rambler automobile, from a somber Lenten hymn to a romantic lullaby for the zombie apocalypse. One song memorialized Pete Seeger, another lamented a lack of work/life balance, and yet another bewailed the anguish of algebra lessons. One of the nicest things about the Grünewald Guild is that it welcomes artists of all levels of skill and experience, which means that dabblers like me can sit beside musicians with many decades of hard work under their belts and not feel any less a part of things.

And oh... you know we've waited for so long
For you to come and hear our song
For you to come and sing along

Trees stretching and yawning
My song sprang from the work of cleaning rooms for friends soon to arrive, from an old handwritten sign on a door, from two years of receiving warm welcomes, from eagerness for winter's end and excitement for all the things that are beginning. It's a love song for the Guild and its guests, for all my hosts, and for my sweetheart the Handsome Communard, who will be here soon, and not nearly soon enough.

I've been considering my heart
And how you fit so well inside it, oh
Now that you're finally here
We'll swiftly sweep the shadows clear
And throw doors open
We'll do our best to leave
A thread of kindness through our weave
Oh, Love
Welcome, please come in.


  1. It looks so lovely! I will visit soon! Your song lyrics are shimmering! :) ... chelsea!

    1. Thank you, Chelsea! I can't wait for your visit! :)

  2. Replies
    1. Sadly, I don't have one I'm willing to share. That's one downside of the super-short writing deadline, for me -- you don't have time to hone your performance, and my guitar accompanist left when the workshop was over. But I'd sing it for you in person!

  3. ahhhh - here are the lyrics written down!
    now i can sing the song in full and be satisfied.

    1. I also e-mailed you the lyrics. But I'm glad you found them here too. :)

  4. I seem to have somehow gotten behind on reading your blog once again! APRIL??? It can't be that long since I've been here.

    I can't wait to hear your song next time we get together. If the melody is as lovely as the words, you're on to something. But your next challenge will be to get the words "Handsome Communard" into a song. Without, you know, forcing the rhyme or anything.

  5. But wait...It hasn't been that long, after all, as evidenced by the comment I left on your September post. I guess I am relating to time rather strangely these days.

    ...which would be a really interesting first line of a song. Might have to get to work on that one.

    1. Well, thanks for checking out the archives, in any order and on any schedule!

      Hmm... bard, scarred, lard, charred, Picard... I can work with this. ;)