Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs…

In case you are one of the many who don’t know, that is the first line from one of my all-time favorite poems. It is not by Robert Frost, although two poems by him are in this category, and clearly not Dickens or Emerson or even Whitman, although they as well have followed me from the time when I was green and golden and sang in my chains like the sea. Have you guessed the poem yet? The poet? No cheating now, no Googling the metaphors or opening line, I will tell you in the end.

I have a lot of favorite poems, but to make the “all-time” list I must have first memorized portions of the poem prior to graduating high school and still find depth and meaning in its lines.  These poems, and the music of dead minstrels who played around me as the poetry wove into my adolescent awareness, are the things I am listening to these days.  My Ipod is playing Dusty Springfield, Karen Carpenter, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg,  Maria Hawkins and Nat King Cole, Bob Welch (in his early Fleetwood Mac days); and some living ones too, like Dave Brubeck, Simon and Garfunkel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and these are all joined be even more old minstrels whose status I can’t remember without Googling them myself,  like  Hot Tuna. And all these  voices of the 1970’s are just lovely background to what I am listening to the most; hours of  Interviews I am transcribing about a remarkable someone’s  life in that time.

The music isn’t just background; these artists are after all,  like the poem,  “all-time” favorites. New artists have joined my favorites music list over the years like Queensryche, or Dreamtheater,  Sharon and the Daptones, The Black Keyes, even recently Adele. I listen to these favorite artists repeatedly, appreciating them more with familiarity, but they can never be part of the personal history that makes the oldies resonate.

Even my TV time is currently rife with nostalgia, I am watching season 1 of  The Waltons, and a little more recent (OK, a lot more recent) but with its own poignancy the 2002 documentary   “Lost in La Mancha,”  about Gilliam’s ill fated quest to make my absolute favorite book EVAR into a movie, the production of which was once again just called off last month.

So that is what I am listening to and watching this week, and I can wholeheartedly recommend all of it, especially if you are too young to have heard or seen any of it the first time. All of these artists contributed something important and unique to the face of modern music, but I will also completely understand if you just laugh at me and tune into the modern fruits grown from these folk, jazz, blues and rock music roots. Because after all the owls have not yet borne your farm away and your wishes still race through the house high hay.

And the poem, by the way is Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas, for whom my youngest son was almost named. As to my homesteading updates, I am about to cook and eat the one winter squash (aka spaghetti squash) that made it to adulthood and harvest, I have already consumed the one cantalope, and the scorching Arizona summer is upon us, so the garden is going to sleep for awhile.

Improvement over last year, although I am a loooong way from any form of urban self-sufficiency, I did actually eat from my garden this year. Yea! This was a first since moving to the desert. I will be studying, planning and feeding my garden dirt in preparation for the next planting season…as I always say “Nothing  is impossible, it’s not that I can’t, its that I haven’t yet.”

Now back to patiently transcribing….

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