Today began with Annie’s Song and ended with it.
In fact no, it didn’t end yet and I am sat here writing because I just couldn’t get to sleep, with this song and my thoughts rolling around my head.
This was it:
My daughter had been captivated by it last night, as I offered it to calm her down for the night after getting over excited reading Charlie and the Glass Elevator.
She unusually wanted to hear it again, so we listened again, and in the morning, again.
This time she asked to see this one:
Hearing him talk, soft words and the grace as he sang, we were both mesmerised.
I remembered something nasty about the whole thing, willed myself not to look it up, but damn it, the blooming internet, I couldn’t resist. If you love John Denver, or even just this incredible song, please don’t look it up, do yourself a favour. You may not want to continue reading this post, either, as you’ll guess stuff.
The whole day we tried to find other beautiful songs, such as this one:
but we kept coming back to that one. In both versions, the pretty video someone made, and the other, with John humming beautifully and singing live and sweet.
Tonight, after my daughter fell asleep (we’re sharing the big bed now, as my husband’s up north waiting for us to join him when school’s out), I tried to fall asleep but just couldn’t, thinking about beauty. And grace.
John famously wrote this song in ten minutes or so during a skiing trip. A veritable moment of grace. Inspired by his then wife, with whom things would happen very differently soon after.
I couldn’t help thinking about his ensuing life. We all have moments of sublime beauty in our lives. If not, they are very easily created, and we should always strive to achieve them. But the one thing I could never cope with was ugliness. Especially the ugliness of something that was once beautiful.
When my ex rendered what was beautiful ugly it was the greatest shock of all, every time, because every time beauty would be re-established and I would always, always believe that was it, that’s how things would be now, back to beauty. Discovering things about my parents, about friends, that were ugly, was also disturbing every time. But more often than not people find their way back to beauty. Animals and nature, on the other hand, remain beautiful.
What I cannot understand is being able to create such incredible beauty and then warp into ugliness and not desperately struggle to get out of it as soon as possible.
So often that has been me, so often ugliness would follow and shock me in its appearance: sometimes caused by others, sometimes, and this was the worst, by me. Every time my heart soul and mind would combine to fight it, to rectify it.
I think that is why I so often feel so tired, so exhausted. Regaining that beauty on a constant basis, especially for my children, ensuring that nobody, and especially not me, could ever let them be in a situation of ugly for too long, on a constant basis, is exhausting. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That is why I cannot stand the news. They are full of ugly, not just things happening, but the feeding of the bad news to the people, the masses HUNGRY for more ugliness and horror, is just incomprehensible to me.
I don’t want the internet. I want to listen to an amazing artist and his or her creation and not know that he killed himself, or that he became an alcoholic and tried to strangle his wife, or that he abused people or that they simply became miserable, old and lonely. Somehow if you take the trouble to find that out by reading his biography, you digest it more easily.
It didn’t happen to everyone, but it happens to a lot of people, both famous and infamous. It has happened to heroes and to poets, to writers and musicians. I am sure it has happened to scientists and builders and milkmen too, except we don’t necessarily find out about it so much.
I believe we should always strive to be the best person we could possibly be. Where “striving” is the keyword, because we will, necessarily, fail. But if we strive every day, there may be days upon days that we succeed. The ugliness may be just moments we can try and turn back. Some ugliness cannot be changed, and when I think back to it I feel a physical pain in my heart, soul and mind combined, and I need to stop and blank it out. I lack the tools to deal with the ugly, it’s as simple as that. I guess that is why I was always attracted by strong confident people who seemed to have all the answers and the resources… at least until you call their bluff, which is sometimes quite an impressive one.