Maybe you’re not old enough to know them, or maybe you were lucky enough to have had crooners like Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg, Joni Mitchell and Janis Ian as the soundtrack to your most memorable years. I’ve always been drawn to the stories in their songs. When I was sick, music was my go-to mind medicine. These artists and others like them brought me solace when I needed it, a focus for my mind, and best of all comfort.
They still do. I was driving along in the car yesterday and a wave of tearfulness swept over me. I had already put the windscreen wipers on before I realised the rain was my own. Jostein Garder described this general sadness that I feel, in his book ‘Sophie’s World’. He called it ‘world-sadness’. That feeling of connectedness to all the tragedies in life, happening everywhere. It can be so overwhelming. So tiring to have this kind of emotional hyper-sensitivity. If only I could flick the switch and find my happy self in moments like that. Instead, I have learned to just let the waves of it wash over me.
Have you ever been deep in the world-sadness and the most perfect song has come up in your playlist or on the radio? Yesterday it was Gordon Lightfoot, ‘Rainy Day People’. So beautiful. My rainy day person is my friend Flo. She popped in the other day with a gift for me. She said, it had pretty much bought itself before she had time to think. Somehow these are just meant to be yours, she said. I opened the parcel to find six exquisite tea mugs, each with different blue and white moroccan mosaic patterns. They are so perfect. They reminded me instantly of the china my Mum collected, that precious, carefully curated selection now amalgamated with my own. I held one of the mugs in my hands and smiled gratefully at my friend. I don’t need gifts, but the thoughtfulness of hers made me feel profoundly fortunate. How lucky I am to have a friend like her. Someone who understands me, who somehow knows just when it’s time to call. I hope you’ve got some rainy day people in your world, too.
If you haven’t heard this Gordon Lightfoot classic lately, or ever…
here is Rainy Day People: