Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Monday Mix Tape: I Shall Not Walk Alone

Some weeks I sit and think lots of silly thoughts about blogging, especially the Monday Mix Tape posts. After I sit and think silly thoughts, I usually play around with a bunch of music and dream grandiose dreams about changing the world with a melody or a killer set of lyrics.  Then I usually get up and do something monotonous, load the dishwasher for example, and think more silly thoughts.  Who am I kidding?  I'm not even a musician, let alone hip enough to post weekly mixes.  What hubris!  What fantasy!  

After that I usually play FastTyper on Facebook and take out all my pent-up writerly frustrations on the floating text.  As if each rhythmic ding of the pseudo carriage were an actual paragraph I'd written. I compete with myself until I'm bored.  After this, I listen to music again and begin -- slowly -- to find something to say.  Sometimes I do some laundry instead. Or watch Cagney and Lacey.  Some weeks, like this one, it takes a couple of days.  

I don't usually say much about the songs I post here each week.   Mostly because I really am not a music expert.  Partly because I'm lazy and want you to just sort of listen for yourself and come up with your own conclusions.  Sometimes I just like the way particular music feels with the theme I'm meditating.  I was definitely feeling a gospel/spiritual vibe with this mix (Blind Boys of Alabama, Mavis Staples, even Wilco and the Fleet Foxes).  Mostly, though, it's all about the lyrics this week.

As I listened to the songs that were speaking to me, pulling out the threads of thoughts all jumbled up in my post-cross-country-move exhaustion the pattern that began to emerge could be a kind of part 2 to last week's Come, Union.  Maybe part 1 could be the abstract hopes hovering over the concrete movements of our recent days.

Thus, I give you this week's mix, I Shall Not Walk Alone.

track 1: visual art 

© Copyright, 2001 - 2005 Carmen Lomas Garza.
Sandia / Watermelon© Copyright, 2001 - 2005 Carmen Lomas Garza
I stumbled on this work this week and have found myself just gazing at the colorful scenes full of activity, family, food, a sense of togetherness and contentment.  I love that the works demonstrate a specific culture while depicting a deep, cross-cultural human longing.  Togetherness. Contentment.  Beautiful.

track 2:  music

Standalone player

1.  I Shall Not Walk Alone, Blind Boys of Alabama
2.  People, C'monDelta Spirit
3.  You Are Not Alone, Mavis Staples
4.  Amazing GraceSufjan Stevens
5.  Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley
6.  Beautiful Things, Gungor
7.  I Shall Be Released, Bob Dylan cover by Wilco / Fleet Foxes
8.  Brotherhood of Man, Innocence Mission
9.  Beautiful Savior, Innocence Mission

track 3:  poem

Amish Economy
by Wendell Berry in A Timbered Choir

We live by mercy if we live.
To that we have no fit reply
But working well and giving thanks,
Loving God, loving one another,
To keep Creation's neighborhood.

And my friend David Kline told me,
"It falls strangely on Amish ears,
This talk of how you find yourself.
We Amish, after all, don't try
To find ourselves. We try to lose
Ourselves" -- and thus are lost within
The found world of sunlight and rain
Where fields are green and then are ripe,
And the people eat together by
The charity of God, who is kind
Even to those who give no thanks.

In the morning light, men in dark clothes
Go out among the beasts and fields.
Lest the community be lost,
Each day they must work out the bond
Between goods and their price: the garden
Weeded by sweat is flowerbright;
The wheat shocked in shorn fields, clover
Is growing where wheat grew; the crib
Is golden with the gathered corn.

While in the world of the found selves,
Lost to the sunlit, rainy world,
The motor-driven cannot stop.
This is the world where value is
Abstract, and preys on things, and things
Are changed to thoughts that have a price.
Cost + greed - fear = price:
Maury Telleen thus laid it out.
The need to balance greed and fear
Affords no stopping place, no rest,
And need increases as we fail.

But now, in summer dusk, a man
Whose hair and beard curl like spring ferns
Sits under the yard trees, at rest,
His smallest daughter on his lap.
This is because he rose at dawn,
Cared for his own, helped his neighbors,
Worked much, spent little, kept his peace.
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