Tonight, we’re going to hear James Taylor at Bethel Woods, our first concert there on our last night in Sullivan. I hope he plays one of my favorite tunes, “Fire and Rain.”
Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend But I always thought that I'd see you, again Been walking my mind to an easy time My back turned towards the sun Lord knows how the cold wind blows It'll turn your head around Well, there's hours of time on the telephone line To talk about things to come Sweet dreams and flying machines And pieces on the ground Oh, won't you look down upon me Jesus You've gotta help me make a stand You've just gotta see me through another day Cause my body's aching and my time is at hand And I don't think I'll make it any other way
The lyrics of Taylor’s songs are (or were) taken from his own life. When he wrote “Fire and Rain,” for example, he was clinically depressed, recovering from heroin addiction and spending time in what we used to call “a mental institution.” While struggling to get his life together, I think he used his songs to express what he was feeling, praying for faith at the end of his rope. In that regard, he is certainly one of my heroes, an inspiration for those of us who try and take the clay of this life and shape it into something beautiful and, perhaps, helpful to ourselves and others.
I have only seen him play once before when I was a teenager, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it feels to experience him again after all these years. Apparently, he’s canceled some dates for next week because he wants to rest his voice. My hope is that he’s capable of giving us a good show tonight, but the guy is in his seventies and I don’t expect him to be the same performer he was in his thirties.
Speaking of which, I’m not the same guy, either. For example, my voice isn’t as strong or pliable as it once was. I have to sing more often to keep it in shape. I’m also beginning a regime of hand strengthening because I’m noticing some arthritis and discomfort in both hands.
Readers of this blog also know that I’ve been experiencing some “Fire and Rain” in my life. Loss, a constant companion in the last year, continues to be with me almost daily. Luckily, this feeling has been mixed with “sunny days that I thought would never end,” mostly in the form of new and old friends, fellow travelers and family members who support me and bring me joy, laughter and gratitude.
I’ve also rediscovered my faith which is allowing me to revisit the overarching paradigms that brought me pain. In their stead, I am working on a new and improved Scott that will, I believe, be able to approach some of life’s difficulties with renewed strength and optimism. Hats off to my therapist, Balia, who helped us through some difficult family years and is once again proving herself to be indispensable to me.
Well – I’ve gotta head off to a meeting. May your day be filled with Grace and hope.