Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Sundays are perhaps my favorite day of the week. And despite the rain, today was a particularly good one for me. Every Sunday I wake up to two buttery voices gently lulling me awake on "Being With," a spirituality program on NPR. I put on something vaguely nicer than usual and cycle on down Flushing. There's hardly any traffic at all so early on a Sunday, and my route takes me past the Navy Yard. Most importantly that row of abandoned homes; former navy officials homes, I'm told. I went there a couple times with my first boyfriend to explore the beautiful ruins. I make my way to my spiritual home at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregational Society of Brooklyn. I rehearse with the choir at 9AM. And at 9AM our choir director (a brilliant multi-instrumentalist) picked up a banjo and plucked an incredibly beautiful melody. I'd never heard it before, yet it felt heartrendingly familiar.

I'm not sure what it was precisely. Was it just that song? Or the banjo? Or was it the rain poised to descend? The new moon? A lonely weekend? Nostalgia? Hope for the future? Whatever it was, I had a very emotional day in the best possible way, and it started with that song. "The Cool of the Day" by Jean Ritchie. 

Perfect for Earth Day, this folk revival tune recalls an Appalachian tradition with lyrics that warn mankind of the dangers in failing to keep our planet healthy.

After a particularly moving sermon about integrity and a particularly pleasant coffee hour, I biked home, particularly happy to get drenched in the rain.

And after I was warm and dry and cozy in my bed with a PBS Nature special about whales, I revisited "The Cool of the Day" all by myself. Just me and my mandolin in my room. It's no church choir and it's no 30-foot-vaulted-ceiling, but here's my own humble version I recorded for you:







The Cool of the Day
Jean Ritchie

My Lord, he said unto me
Do you like my garden so fair
You may live in this garden if you'll keep the grasses green
And I'll return in the cool of the day

My Lord, he said unto me
Do you like my garden so pure
You may live in this garden if you’ll keep the waters clean
And I’ll return in the cool of the day

Chorus:
   Now is the cool of the day
   Now is the cool of the day
   This earth is a garden, the garden of my Lord
   And he walks in his garden
   In the cool of the day


Then my Lord, he said unto me
Do you like my pastures so green
You may live in this garden if you will feed my sheep
And I'll return in the cool of the day

Then my Lord, he said unto me
Do you like my garden so free
You may live in this garden if you'll keep the people free
And I'll return in the cool of the day




"Hello world!" -- Baby Beet

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful song from a beautiful voice!
    love,
    mom

    ReplyDelete