SO MANY FLOWERS ARE GONE – Marilyn Armstrong

When I started writing Serendipity eight years ago, I was enthusiastic and full of energy. Undisciplined. All over the place. Writing too much, leaping from subject to subject. Angry one day, mellow the next. Ranting about the wrongs of the world and how we needed to fix everything. I think I knew more when I was younger. I even ranted about philosophy. Imagine that.

Almost the end of this run of orchids

And then I just dropped everything and took pictures of birds and flowers and rivers and autumn leaves..

I was so passionate I probably contradicted myself a dozen time a week, but who was counting?

A hideous election that completely altered my world view — and massive heart surgery — and now, I am living in my nightmare world. I expect awful things and to no ones surprise, that’s what we get. Because somehow, through the perfect storm of politics, we elected the worst possible president and now we are living under his tweets.

The last of the orchids … except for 2 more buds

I remember 2012, when I was full-bore into the election and all the positive change I expected to see. The election ended. Gridlock began. The air went out of my bubble. Life got grim and rather ugly. I got sick. I didn’t want to get down in the trenches and duke it out with people with whom I disagreed. I didn’t feel like bothering to call out the crazies for being crazy. I wanted to hear music. Not new music. Old music.

As we head into elections in 2020, we need to be a whole lot smarter. Less passionate, more intelligent. Anyone who still thinks voting has nothing to do with them is beyond help. Let’s find people we can help. Let’s give up on all those people who live in a state of blind hate. They aren’t going to change and we will never convince them of anything. More than half the people I hear from are irrational, stupid, and fascist. We aren’t going to bring them to our side. They don’t have a side. They simply hate.

How do you talk to people who are completely irrational? Who don’t care whether what they believe is true or not? People who think their personal feelings are more important than truth? Any truth?

Meanwhile, there’s music.John Prine is one of our lost flowers.

The current future looks rather bleak. I want it to get better, but it’s hard to see past the mess we are in.

I want to move back to the United States. I’m pretty sure — this ain’t it. Are you hearing Phil Ochs singing “I ain’t marching anymore …” Are you wondering where have all the flowers gone?

This last one was originally sung by THIS group in a tiny coffee house run by my first husband, right near my college. It’s how I got to know the man. The Incredible String Band were … well … incredible.

MY WORLD GOES ROUND AND ROUND – Marilyn Armstrong

I was about to give up. Contractors have a weird way of vanishing just when you think you’ve got a deal. You have the money in hand. The house awaits some long-awaited repairs. Which is when your contractor slips into the mists of time and disappears. What happened?

But not this time — or at least I don’t think this time. We have a date. I have the money. If we don’t get typhoon-level rain for all next week, we’ll have a fixed side of the house and a repaired (and hopefully freshly painted) front door.

The deck Dutch door won’t make this year’s repair list. We’ve run out of time. The weather is turning, so that job will have to wait until our next not-winter. I would say spring, but spring is usually winter, but wetter. So the next time after the regular winter when we have weather in which a carpenter can work … like maybe May or June, the Dutch door gets fixed. Along with the rot around it.

I am thrilled. No, really. I know there are too many other things going on about which I seem unable to do much. So I send $5 to Elizabeth Warren and fill my bird feeders which somehow doesn’t seem nearly enough, but it’s what I’ve got to offer and I figure it beats nothing by a little something.

Oh, and I switched to all wind-powered electricity. Yes, I know it costs more, but I figure it’ll be maybe $5 a month … well, with Owen coming back and all his stuff, probably more but he’ll pay his way, so it should be fine.

Meanwhile, Garry is feeling better and Bonnie seems to be barking less. She now seems to require a biscuit from both of us. We have to both appear and bribe her and then she goes back to sleep. Don’t ask me. I don’t get it either.

I’m just really happy the house is getting 2/3 fixed. We didn’t really have the money for the Dutch door anyway, but I was going to try to “make a deal.”

Something I read today — I think an article in the Washington Post — the author said that by Friday, she can’t remember what happened on Monday unless she goes back and reads her notes. That’s just how I feel. By Friday, this world has whizzed around its axis about 48 times. I sometimes forget the morning news before lunch.

But at least I am getting a couple of major items cared for. So in case the world survives, I’ll have a great front door and won’t have that rotten side door anymore.


This song was written by  Tom Paxton, but I can’t find a copy of him doing the singing. This singer’s okay and he plays the guitar well. So he will have to do!

In case you may be wondering why, despite the fact that the door that opens onto the deck is not getting replaces, it’s because I simply love that door. I love being able to open the top and have the air blow through the screen in the door. It turns out that Dutch doors are well-loved and wildly expensive. I could probably make a fair bit selling it, but I just love that door.

Scrabbling Junco feet!

Today we had two rather hungry looking squirrels, our usual chipmunk who is beginning to become a teenage chipmunk … and a lot of woodpeckers. I wonder why the woodpeckers are so fond of our feeders? We have a woods full of trees and a fair number of them are old and hollow, so there ought to be plenty for them to eat … but maybe we serve a better meal?

BOTTLE OF WINE, FRUIT OF THE VINE – Marilyn Armstrong

Tom Paxton – “Bottle of Wine”


I’ve been a Tom Paxton fan forever. He may be one of the greatest writers and singers of folks songs. Ever. He is 80 now, still performing, still living on Long Island in New York.

May you live forever, Tom Paxton! You bring my youth back to me!

WHISTLE AND GO FISHING IN HEAVEN – REBLOG – JOHN PRINE

Since we are into “round and round” this morning, just ONE more and one of my very favorite songs. Is it country music? Or just great music? How many songs make you cry and laugh at the same time? This one does! I loved John Prine. He’s making a bit of a comeback. He had some serious cancer and has not fully recovered, but he still has that wonderful gritty voice … and lucky for us, he was as much a composer as singer and this is a special song. 

Another one going round and round!


John Prine singing “That’s the way that the world goes round.”

A sentiment … several sentiments … to which I can really relate. John Prine. Singing (well, you know, it’s John Prine so it’s singing, sort of) one of my favorites. Musical philosophy.

The meaning of life according to John Prine.

 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

I need to admit something up top here. I think I wrote this piece because it includes some of my all time favorite folk music — played by the original people. The final one, “Everything’s Fine Right Now” was a love song from me to my baby in 1969 when my big tall adult was a little, funny kid. So if you don’t feel like reading this, don’t … but play the music. It’s great music. I think that may really be what the world needs more of. Folk music. Lots of it.


When I started writing Serendipity five years ago, I was enthusiastic and full of energy. Undisciplined. All over the place. Writing too much, leaping from subject to subject. Angry one day, mellow the next. Ranting about the wrongs of the world and how we needed to fix everything. I think I knew more when I was younger. I even ranted about philosophy. Imagine that.

And then I just dropped everything and took pictures of autumn leaves.

I was so passionate I probably contradicted myself a dozen time a week, but who was counting?

Parkland along the canal

A hideous election that completely altered my world view — and massive heart surgery — and now, I am living in my nightmare world. I expect awful things and to no ones surprise, that’s what we get. Because somehow, through the perfect storm of politics, we elected the worst possible president and now we are living under his … tweets.

I remember 2012, when I was full-bore into the election and all the positive change I expected to see. The election ended. Gridlock began. The air went out of my bubble. Life got grim and rather ugly. I got sick. I didn’t want to get down in the trenches and duke it out with people with whom I disagreed. I didn’t feel like bothering to call out the crazies for being crazy. I wanted to hear music. Not new music. Old music.

As we head into elections in 2018, we need to be much smarter. Less passionate, more intelligent. Anyone who still thinks voting has nothing to do with them is beyond help. Let’s find people we can help. Let’s give up on all those people who live in a state of blind hate. They aren’t going to change and we will never convince them of anything. More than half the people I hear from are irrational, stupid, and fascist. We aren’t going to bring them to our side. They don’t have a side. They simply hate.

How do you talk to people who are completely irrational? Who don’t care whether what they believe is true or not? People who think their personal feelings are more important than truth? Any truth?

Meanwhile, there’s music.

The current future looks a little bleak. I have started to discover where the cuts to Medicare are. I can’t afford my drugs. I could barely afford them last year, but it’s just February and I’m not optimistic about the upcoming year.  I hope I live to see this disaster end.

I want to move back to the United States. I’m pretty sure — this ain’t it. Are you hearing Phil Ochs singing “I ain’t marching anymore …” Are you wondering where have all the flowers gone?

FOLK, POP, AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

While I was growing up, my world was entirely serious music. I was a piano student and my spare time was consumed by practicing. It wasn’t until I recognized I’d never be good enough to be a professional musician that I started to explore the world of “folk” and “pop.” Tom Paxton, The Chad Mitchell Trio, even the Kingston Trio … followed by a crowd of folk singers from great to not-so-great became the go to people in my musical world. They seemed like personal friends. Joni Mitchell. Judy Collins. Carol King. Joan Baez. Pete Seeger. Linda Ronstadt. Emmy Lou Harris. Maria Muldaur. There were so many, back then.

Now that Judy Collins is 75 and I’m 70, I relate to this song so very well.

The Beatles were the first group in the pop arena I truly loved. After “A Hard Days Night” (I loved the movie and the score), and “Rubber Soul,” I was a fan for life — which means I still am buying remastered Beatles CDs.

beatles-abbey-road-cover

Eventually, I added many other singers and groups, and other categories of music.

John Prine was a latecomer to my “playlist,” but he remains a favorite. Better known as the writer than the singer, here are a couple of songs that I particularly love and always cheer me when I’m blue. Not everyone has heard of John Prine, but he wrote many songs. He sang them himself on various recordings, most of which I once owned on vinyl. Lo and behold, there’s a CD collection of his work available … just $10, double CD. I ordered it. Of course. No, I don’t like to trust my stuff to the cloud. Especially when I’m traveling.

Sometimes, nothing says “life” like music. Maybe more often than sometimes. Maybe always.

And finally, I’d like to add an old song that’s a current favorite. It’s our “road song” and we tend to listen to it over and over again while driving down (or up) the highway. “Pancho and Lefty” is a story song. If you’ve heard it (and many people have sung it over the years, you probably think that maybe it has something to do with Pancho Villa. It ought to. Actually, Townes Van Zandt says it has nothing to do with him unless it fell out of his unconscious directly into the song. Just a song about two loser outlaws in Mexico.

“Pancho and Lefty” written by Townes Van Zandt was recorded by Emmylou Harris for her 1977 album, Luxury Liner, released on Warner Bros and available on CD on Rhino.

Every time I hear it, I see it in my mind’s eye too. The dusty desert where Pancho breathed his last. This is the Emmy Lou Harris version. My favorite, though there are, as I said, many others. Hers may be the most difficult one from which to catch all the lyrics, so I’ll include them for you. You won’t need to, as I did, keep listening and replaying the lines until finally, you get it … only to discover the words are actually printed on the CD’s paper insert.

PANCHO AND LEFTY – TOWNES VAN ZANDT

Living on the road my friend,
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron,
And your breath’s as hard as kerosene.
You weren’t your mama’s only boy,
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye,
Sank into your dreams.

Pancho was a bandit, boys
His horse was fast as polished steel
Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel.
Pancho met his match you know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dying words,
Ah but that’s the way it goes.

And all the Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness, I suppose.1

Lefty, he can’t sing the blues
All night long like he used to.
The dust that Pancho bit down south
Ended up in Lefty’s mouth
The day they laid poor Pancho low,
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go,
There ain’t nobody knows.1

And all the Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away

Now the poets tell how Pancho fell,
And Lefty’s living in cheap hotel
The desert’s quiet, and Cleveland’s cold,
And so the story ends we’re told
Pancho needs your prayers it’s true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do,
And now he’s growing old.1

And a few grey Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness, I suppose.1

A few grey Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness, I suppose.

Read more: Townes Van Zandt – Pancho & Lefty Lyrics | MetroLyrics

SONG | THE DAILY POST DISCOVER CHALLENGE

FORMERLY PASSIONATE BLOGGER WITH MUSIC

PASSIONATE | THE DAILY POST

It’s at moments like this that I realize — I really am getting old. Passionate. When I started doing this four and a half years ago, I was passionate. Undisciplined and all over the place. Writing too long, leaping from subject to subject without any connection. Angry one day, mellow the next. Ranting about wrongs and politics … and (please forgive me!) philosophy. And then just dropping the whole thing and taking a lot of pictures of autumn leaves.

I was so passionate about absolutely everything I probably contradicted myself a dozen time a week, but who was counting?

A double round of cancer and massive heart surgery later, we are in the middle of the most horrendous political kerfuffle in my lifetime … maybe in the life of this nation … and I’m beginning to feel numb. Passionate? I can’t even seem to raise a decent head of steam. I know who I’m voting for and why I’m voting for her. I know who I’m NOT voting for and why I could never, ever, under any imaginable circumstances vote for him or anyone remotely like him …

But there’s not much passion behind it. Unlike 2008 when I was wild with energy and excitement because finally, after years of plodding, this country was going to make a major breakthrough. Progress! REAL progress.

I wasn’t blogging in ’08, but by 2012, I was full bore into it. I don’t know whether to be proud or a little embarrassed at my naked excitement at that election. I went from nothing to 100,000 views in just a couple of months …

And the election ended. Gridlock began. The air went out of my bubble. It got grim and ugly. I got sick and spent a year pulling myself back from the edge of the edge. I didn’t want to get down in the trenches and duke it out with people with whom I disagree. I didn’t even feel like bothering to call out the crazies for being crazy.

This time around, I think people should be smarter. They should be able to use their own brains to see what’s what, and why they need to do whatever they must to keep this country a place in which we can all live. The amount of blind hate … passionate hate … based on assumptions, rumor, innuendo, racism, and a weird combination of a sense of white entitlement combined with an obvious belief that Those People have stolen “their” country.

How do you talk to people who are irrational? Who don’t care whether what they believe is true or factual? Who think being passionate is exactly the same as being right?

The answer is: I can’t. Instead of prodding me into wanting to confront the devil in the Orange Hair, I just want it all to go away. Wake me when it’s time to vote. Tell me what happened when it’s over. Let me know if I’m going to have to wear a yellow star on my clothing or my husband and I will have to go into hiding because we are a mixed race, mixed religion, intellectual couple. Both born and raised in the Devil’s own city of New York (or, as we call it, our home town) … and him with 40 years working as one of Those People — you know — media maggots. When comes the fascist dictator to power, we are going to be exactly the kind of people who go up against the wall first.

Why not? They’ll probably gut social security and we’ll be out on the street anyway,.

Is anyone else feeling that somehow, we are living in the worst of times … and you’re numb? Your brain has given up? You’re hearing Phil Ochs in your head humming “I ain’t marching anymore …” and wonder where have all the flowers gone?

WHISTLE AND GO FISHING IN HEAVEN

A sentiment … several sentiments … to which I can really relate. John Prine. Singing (well, you know, it’s John Prine so it’s singing, sort of) one of  my favorites. Musical philosophy. I am inordinately, perhaps excessively fond of wit.

The meaning of life according to John Prine. He sums it up for me. Thanks John!

Finally, a musical look at aging. Talk about summing it up. Tom Paxton was always a favorite. Which shows my age as much as my shining silver hair.