Thursday, October 07, 2010

"Wake up, put your shoes on/Take a breath of the northern air."

The Song: "Smile," The Jayhawks. Words & music by Gary Louris. Track 1 of Smile, 2000.
How/when acquired: Purchased CD, 2004.
Listen/watch here. (That's a live version that is a little janglier than the album cut, set to scenes from David Lynch's The Straight Story. The album version is here.)

For some reason I pull this album out around this time every year, when I start waking up in the dark. The days shorten fast up here; if I wake up at 6:00 a.m. (my usual time), I've got 43 minutes of darkness before the sun shows up. Dizzy's night vision is declining as fast as my own, maybe even faster. He won't take the stairs in the dark, so we wait for sunrise to start the day in earnest.

I bought this CD at the same time I bought the Blue Nile's High, from the Best Buy in Westwood as I prepared to move across the country. It became part of the soundtrack of that move, and still has an almost magical power to make me feel better during times of frustration and confusion. The chorus of this song feels like advice from friends I've never met:
Chin up, chin up
You don't really have a problem
Chin up, chin up
In your hour of despair
And smile when you're down and out . . .

All set to a wall of music that feels like ocean waves, lifting us up despite ourselves.

Doesn't it feel like we're all due for a little good news? I feel that way, anyway. If you've got any, share it in the comments section.

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