#Song Lyric Sunday – 10/21/17 – Imagine


The theme for Helen’s Song Lyric Sunday this week is “peace.” The only song that I thought of was the classic “Imagine” by John Lennon, written in 1971.


by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one




Fall is Like a Song


In my part of the world, fall is starting to arrive. Although not according to the calendar quite yet. Yesterday, I spent some time relaxing outside on my front porch. My porch looks out into the forest and onto the lightly traveled county road in front of my house. More often than not, there are more deer than cars trooping along that road, and in my front yard, making their way to the feeding troughs we keep full for them. As I sat on the porch, I was musing about how the woods look like fall and I fell into a reverie thinking of the melody, harmony, and beat of life, particularly in the fall.

Sometimes I think fall is my favorite time of year. Then I wonder why. Fall, in so many ways, is the end. The end of the summer, of good weather, of good times with our friends outdoors, of easy travel and easier living. I look around me as I sit on my porch and i see the beginnings of fall. My clematis are trying to produce a few of their fall blooms. The black-eyed susans and purple coneflowers are frantically blooming the last of their flowers. The oak, maple, and poplar trees are turning a dingy green with some yellowing of leaves. The sycamore maples will be the first to go. The underbrush is starting to die off.

The wildlife are particularly affected by the changing of the seasons. I hear the Canadian geese as they fly overhead. Heading south, honking as they go. Chipmunks are everywhere with their cheeks full of any nuts they can find, storing food for winter. The deer even look like fall. In the summer, their coats are a chestnut red. Now they are turning gray in order to blend in with the winter forest. I have seen the antlers of the two large bucks who come to the feeding troughs and they have gotten huge. At least eight points each. The fawns the does started to bring to feed early in the summer have grown up, except for a few, and are losing their spots and becoming less dependent on their mothers. We still have a few very small fawns and i am rooting for them to grow and grow fast so they will survive the winter.

The butterflies and hummingbirds are mostly gone now. Headed south on their long journey. Some of the birds are gone but many of the species indigenous to this area stay, foraging for food.

Where I live in the U.S., we have four distinct seasons, though not as distinct as they once were. Summer has been hot and humid this year. We have reached 90 degrees many days which is odd for this corner of the world. Of course, the world is heating up. The humidity has been higher than usual, more like the Gulf Coast than the Ohio Valley. Winters used to be hard with a lot of snow and ice. Not so much now with the heating of the earth. We once had big snows and we still sometimes do. But, they are an anomaly rather than a normal occurrence. It is still cold here in the winter but usually not the brutal cold of days gone by.

Still, there is fall, that in-between time. The time between hot and cold, between summer and winter, between the lush greenery that surrounds me and the stark hardness of a deciduous forest in winter. Fall is sometimes warm, sometimes cool. Preparing us for the cold of winter, for the hardships of winter. Making us forget the uncomfortable heat and humidity of a summer that has grown too hot for the place we call home. In the fall, we try to hang on to the rituals of summer as long as possible.

It occurred to me that the changing of the seasons is like a song. There is a melody and a harmony. Music has a melody and a harmony and so does seasonal change. Melody is usually defined as the main series of notes of a song that stand out and enable us to remember a song. I think of summer as the melody of the year. It is the main event. The series of notes that stand out to us, when the world is fresh, green, alive, singing. The transition to fall is the harmony. Harmony is the series of notes that are counter-melody. It is chords that are pleasing to the ear that complement melody much like  fall complements summer and eases our transition into winter.

The change of the seasons corresponds to the concept of beat in music. A constant rhythmic pulse that is never-ending. The beat is the skeleton of the seasonal change while the melody is summer and harmony is the seasonal transition. Beat, in music, in life, in the change of the seasons, is what you feel in your heart. Fall is like a song. #amwriting #writing #blogging #fall #music

Bluegrass Musician, Ralph Stanley, Dies


Ralph Stanley, one of the earliest pioneers of traditional bluegrass music, died June 23, 2016 at the age of 89. Dr. Stanley, who received an honorary doctorate of music from Lincoln Memorial University, died of complications from skin cancer.

Stanley, along with his brother, Carter, teamed up with their band, the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946 and began to develop what is now known as bluegrass music through the adaptation of Appalachian folk music. Ralph Stanley played banjo; Carter Stanley, who passed away at a young age in 1966, played guitar. Stanley continued as a solo artist. He and the Clinch Mountain Boys played for most of the next 50 years. He and his band served as a mentor for such bluegrass artists as Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs.

Stanley was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Living Legends award. A coup in his career occurred when he appeared on two movie soundtracks, “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” and “Lawless.” He continued touring into his 80s.

Stanley is survived by his wife, three children, and many grandchildren and great grand-children. #RalphStanley #writing #amwriting #blogging

*Image by armadilo60 at Flickr.com 2009

Livin’ in the City


Livin’ in the city! I lived in the city for 25 years and I miss it every day. I love living in my cabin in the woods in the country. When I moved here 18 years ago, I needed to be away from the city. I needed the respite. But, I’ve always missed the city, my city. There is just something about the city, some energy I get from the city, that just doesn’t happen in the country. I can’t put my finger on it, but my head starts buzzing with all kinds of possibilities when I drive into the city, any city.

My favorite big city in the U.S. is probably Chicago, IL. Think of the possibilities in Chicago. All the restaurants you can choose. The museums, the shopping….always important to this girl. There is culture. But, there is my rock and roll fun too. I went to one of the best rock and roll clubs I’ve ever been too in Chicago with an old friend who is, sadly, gone now.

According to a Wall Street Journal study, there is a rather significant health advantage to living in the city compared to rural areas though the study finds that the health advantage is a function of age, income, and education. In other words, poorer people in cities don’t have this health advantage. Rural areas are served by only 10% of the country’s doctors. There is also indications that people in rural areas have a harder time getting health insurance. From this perspective, there is no health advantage to living in rural areas except the cleaner air and, perhaps, healthier food.

The Wall Street Journal study noted that people living in the city have a higher incidence of developing stress-related mental and emotional problems. Considerably more anxiety and mood disorders. Researchers have even discovered that urban dwellers process stress differently than rural dwellers. Their brains are different.

Almost everything you read about living in the city talks about the problems associated with city living. Health problems, homelessness, pollution, housing, and  more. You find very little research about the good aspects of city living. But, on a personal level, I love city living. It kicks me into high gear. It gives me energy and motivation. It fills me with possibilities.

For your enjoyment, here is Joe Walsh singing one of my favorite songs…..In the City. Enjoy!


Our 2016 Concert Tour


*Photo courtesy of gorupdebesanez Creative Commons 2014

They say big, loud, crowded rock concerts are for college students and the young, don’t they? I’m not sure who “they” are, but they’re wrong. My friends and I grew up in the age of rock and roll. The 1970s. Listening to classic rock is our natural state. We got to see some of the rock and roll groups that were popular in our day back then, but we were busy with college and young marriages and jobs and just life and we didn’t get to see them all. One of my friends decided to rectify that situation and invited me to join her. I couldn’t say YES fast enough!

Rock and roll is our passion. The sound track of our lives. Just about every rock and roll song and every rock and roll band reminds us of something that happened in our lives….or someone. I love this music as much today as I did when I was 20….no, maybe I love it more. My favorite rock and roll group is the Rolling Stones and I don’t care how old they are, they still play my kind of music. My friend and I and our husbands saw the Rolling Stones play in Cleveland, OH many years ago. We’ve never forgotten that concert. If the Rolling Stones tour again and play anywhere close to where we live, we’ll be there. On the front row if we can get tickets.

While we’re waiting on the Stones, we’re going to see rock and roll bands we’ve wanted to see for years. We have tickets, some with other friends and family joining us, for four more concerts in 2016 and who knows, we may add more. We’re going to enjoy every single minute of listening to the soundtrack of our lives. #RollingStones #classicrock #amwriting #writing #blogging

Can Music Heal Anxiety?

Do you remember the song “American Pie” by Don McLean? As a child of the 70s, it has always been part of the background of my life and the lives of my compatriots. I reference that song because I am a believer in the power of music as a healing force in our lives and it has two very powerful lines in it. We all have “our” music. Many children of the 60s and 70s are into classic rock. The 80s were pop with the emergence of rap and hair metal. The 90s – a plethora of genres including a new sound in rock along with pop, metal, and pop, and so on. Country has always been with us though a new sound emerged in country pop.

When I listen to my music, I am relaxed and happy. Science tells us why. Studies have shown that the sensory pathways along which music travels in the brain compete, for example, with the pain pathways and win. Music can reduce pain. When feeling anxious, studies show that if you listen to music that makes you feel the way you want to feel, it helps you feel that way. So listen to happy music if you want to reduce your anxiety. Music has proven therepeutic in all sorts of clinical settings.

In “American Pie,” there are the lines, “do you believe in rock and roll, can music save your mortal soul.” My answer to both questions is a resounding yes! At the very least, your music can soothe your soul and your anxiety.