Why I do my best thinking in the shower will forever remain a mystery to me. I bet I could write an entire novel if we were not plagued by drought here in Southern California. i would also be the cleanest author on the Talk Show circuit.
Every time I need to do some serious thinking about life and the state of affairs in the world, Mac Arthur Park plays in my head. So I promptly jumped out of the shower and rushed to my iPad to Google the lyrics of the song.
As is always the case with Google I got waylaid on a very interesting journey. My plan is to embed a YouTube version with this post, I hope the geniuses at my Apple Store have rested up this weekend because I will be back to ask another round of stupid questions tomorrow.
In the process of searching for the lyrics, I got schooled on Jimmy Webb’s career, the girl. Susan Horton, who was the inspiration for the song, how many versions there were and several not “kind” reviews.
The lyrics meant exactly what I thought they did in 1968, but over the years they have meant many things to me and I would guess to a great many of you. I think in 1968 they may have conjured up some feelings in me of a lost love, married and expecting my daughter at the time, I did not feel the words on a cellular level. I did however, relate them to that tragic six month period when we lost Martin Luther King and then Bobby Kennedy, coupled with the still fresh wound of John Kennedy’s assassination.. The line about the cake left in the rain and never have that recipe again, took on the meaning of the contributions these men would have made, that now would never come to pass.
Just a few years later, as I got ready to divorce my husband, the words ran through my head again. That marriage that had started out so full of promise, would never be what I had hoped for my family.
As those two children grew older, every time I heard the song played, those words took on yet another meaning, what if something were to happen to the children they could never be replicated. I now know, from life’s unexpected and unbearable accidents that no child can ever replace one who is lost.
My life moved on, I married again, had one more child, with different ingredients. Over the years if I’d catch it on the radio I have always made those same connections, and then it was out of my mind until heard again.
However, this morning, in the shower it popped into my consciousness out of nowhere. I had, for a lack of a better term and a quick thank you to Oprah, an aha moment. It could be a result of last nights date with Anthony Bourdain in Shanghai, focusing on how well China is doing in general and in that city in particular. I am wondering if the United States will never have “that recipe again”.
Left this on the computer, became distracted by myself and others, and just returned. I can say that the world is not in any better shape than it was two or three weeks ago. i can close this with the same premise, are we ever able to replicate things as they were and if not is it just a fact of growing older that we feel everything is going to hell in a hand basket? Is change the only constant?