Rainy Day Songs...

It is a totally blue day in the Berkshires: chilly, rainy, gray with the threat of winter just beyond what is obvious. I love these days and used to miss them terribly when we lived in Tucson. For those who don't have them in your blood, these days are kind of weird because they are somber and not clearly fun - rather like that old 70s song, "Rainy Days and Mondays" which I still love - but they are lovely in a quiet, introverted way.

This odd little song, by this odd little man (Paul Williams), is so melancholy and sweet. It captures perfectly what today feels like to me. We spent the better part of the morning reading the New York Times with hot tea and then wandered around the public library finding all sorts of little treasures. (That's another peculiar thing that I adore - wandering around libraries without an obvious plan - simply discovering unexpected blessings in the most unlikely places.) Today I found a new book based on Henri Nouwen's spiritual director teaching notes from his time at Yale Divinity School... plus some GREAT CDs including Maryanne Faithfull singing the tunes of Bertolt Brecht and some sweet acoustic guitar picking.

Three other rainy day songs come to mind: James Taylor's "Rainy Day Man" which is another one of those totally mellow/melancholy 70s tunes that seem to flow through my veins. This version is just too, too sweet - the essence of ol' Sweet Baby James - and it just feeds my soul to hear it again. (I LOVE this arrangement, too, essentially the sound of our current church band.)

Second would have to be Tom Rush's "No Regrets" which just sounds like a rainy day feels... I can remember seeing him play with my first real serious lover way back when: Man, this song is just all heartbreak and blowing leaves and tears... I dig it sooooo much! (This is from one of Tom's more recent gigs and it is too kewel that he's still doing what he does so well for so long...interestingly, another 70s thing for me.)

Which brings me to Eric Anderson's "Thirsty Boots," his tune about civil rights marchers and people committed to a cause who have a hard time staying put and loving the ones their with: this version includes Judy Collins and is totally lovely. I have been listening and playing this tune for 40 years and I never get tired of it.

And then just for because... my all time favorite Bobby Dylan song which always seems to push its way into my consciousness about this time of year: "Tomorrow Is Such a Long Time."

I call these kinda sad tunes to your attention because I continue to reflect on this quote from dear Frederick Buechner:

You never know what may cause tears. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next.

More than almost anyone else, Buechner continues to name the "signs of the times" that are at work within me - and for this I think him almost prophetic. And, so, on this rainy day in the quiet Berkshires, it is a prayer to hear these songs and let the tears come... and in time I will learn what the tears are telling me. For now I just give thanks... Makes me think of the Beatles so long ago and another song about "Rain."


Black Pete said…
I have a soft spot for the Lovin' Spoonful's "You and Me and Rain on the Roof"--might be edging into cutesy there, though.
RJ said…
Oh, I love that one, too... used to play it all the time. Thanks for reminding me.

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