Monday, November 17, 2008

Music Monday/Lyric Lundi

After spending Saturday in New York and driving along the Henry Hudson Parkway, it seems highly appropriate to choose one of my favorite songs centered around one of my favorite bodies of water, The Hudson River. The song is Dar Williams's "The Hudson." Some of you know that Dar is my cousin. That doesn't really mean too much, because I grew up in North Carolina, and she grew up in Chappaqua, New York, so we rarely saw each other. Nevertheless, I am so often so moved by her lyrics, I can't help thinking it must have something to do with the common gene pool.

As the song says, the Hudson holds the life. I can remember days in New York, when I was a little sad or depressed for some reason. I'd deal with it by walking over to Riverside Park and sitting on a bench with a view of the Hudson. Immediately, my mood would lift as I watched the current and thought about all the many, many, many people who have traveled that waterway. What a magnificent history it has. The river is a great one for those of us with overactive imaginations.

I love it in every single season. Nothing sparkles more brilliantly than its ripples when a golden autumn sun is shining down on it. When it's frozen in the winter, it begs me to slow down, to stop and wonder at its icy cold beauty. The ice flows in the spring, formed from the long, jagged cracks, and the rushing water underneath, promising warmer weather soon, are thrilling. And is anything more fun than sipping a cold drink at Hudson Beach Cafe on a hot summer day and watching the boat traffic out there?

The song captures all my feelings beautifully. I remember the first time I heard it, I immediately had to replay it about four times, sighing over its perfection. And I dare any New Yorker to tell me there's never been a time when the Hudson stole a breath or two. I think there's a time or two it actually knocked the wind out of me.

The Hudson
by Dar Williams

If we're lucky, we feel our lives,
Know when the next scene arrives,
So often we start in the middle and work our way out.
We go to some gray sky diner for eggs and toast,
The New York Times or the New York Post,
Then we take a ride
through the valley of the shadow of doubt.
But even for us New Yorkers
there's a time in every day,
The river takes our breath away.

And the Hudson holds the life.
We thought we did it on our own.

The river roads collect the tolls,
For the passage of our souls
Through silent silver woods,
And flowers and snow,
And past the George Washington Bridge
Down from the trails of Break Neck Ridge,
The river's ancient path is sacred and slow.
And as it swings through Harlem,
It's every shade of blue.
Into the city of the brand new.

And the Hudson holds the life.
We thought we did it on our own.
I thought I had no sense of place or past,
Time was too slow, but then too fast.
The river takes us home at last.

Where and when does a memory take hold?
The mountain range in autumn cold,
And I thought West Point was Camelot in the spring.
If you're lucky you find something that reflects you,
Helps you feel your life, protects you,
Cradles you and connects you to everything.
This whole life I remember has led back unto itself.
Never turned me into someone else,

And the Hudson holds the life.
We thought we did it on our own.
The Hudson holds the life.
We thought we did it on our own.


Cam said...

Thanks for posting this. Been only 12 hours since I left & I'm missing New York already.

ZoesMom said...

Ooh, I don't know that song, but I definitely want to!

Anonymous said...

I've never heard this. The words are beautiful. I am a fan of the West Point area personally. It's really beautiful out there and quite breathtaking. It makes me feel guilty for leaving!

Pete said...

I remember that the Hudson did take my breath away on a brief visit there a while back. Sounds like a great song (maybe on YouTube?). Lovely post.

Emily Barton said...

Cam, yes I miss it, too. (And I was so close -- and yet, so far -- again, today. Sigh!)

ZM, hope you found it and enjoy it.

Sara, oh yes, I just love that line about West Point being Camelot in the spring. So dead-on.

Pete, thanks. Don't know if it's on YouTube or not (unlike you, I'm not too good about checking for that).

knitseashore said...

Chris' GYGIG charity ride goes along the Hudson, and I agree, the views are just spectacular. It must be even more thrilling to ride along side it as he did. (I was crew, and stayed in the car).

Emily Barton said...

Ms. Knits, I've always thought it would be magnificent to ride a bike along the Hudson. Unfortunately, I have yet to do so. Maybe one day...