Monday, 1 December 2008
Who knows where the time goes in the fens?
So I was driving between appointments across the fens, wondering why flat is so often scorned, why flat is the name given to the emotion that doesn’t quite achieve depression but hangs around like a monotonal bad smell. Flat can be interesting, flat allows other angles to display themselves. One tree on a flat horizon becomes the epitome of tree, it is tree magnified, it is tree underlined in bold, it is tree before the fall from the edge. So as I think tree thoughts or should that be tree in the singular I listen to Sandy Denny on the radio and I take all the Sandy Denny vocals from the back of my head and dust them off. I am not a huge Fairport Convention groupie but her singing always created something special, she had that vocal alchemy that can turn an ordinary leaden song into gold. Why have I not listened to this woman for so long, she is like the tree in the fen, something essentially itself. Now that may sound like a load of meaningless philosophical twaddle and indeed it might be but it is my twaddle and the twaddle means something to me. I am being very definitive today it must be the onset of the countdown to Christmas and the panic this can engender. If I embrace the zen of tree perhaps I will not rush round the shops like a headless chicken or a rootless tree buying stuff. Christmas can become stuff fest and stuff your face fest. Last year I had a sickness virus that made stuffing of the face far from wise and I was all the better for it, although the Boo, who I stayed with last Christmas did point out that the custard and other rich delights she had taken pains to buy in for visiting mother went uneaten.
So what has the Zen of fen tree and Sandy Denny’s voice got to offer me…well a sort of calm, a sort of sense that panic is not an option , that being a little more chilled is ok, Christmas, like time, will happen and all will be well. I found this acoustic track of Sandy Denny singing Who Knows where the Time Goes and I listened to that voice. Sandy Denny died in classic ‘rock and roll’ circumstances, the fall down the stairs, the booze, the never quite fulfilling all the brilliance of that voice. If you listen you can almost hear that end in her voice, she knows something about where time goes before she lives it.
Just take five minutes out to really listen to this track, close your eyes and let her voice wash over you, it deals a little with those, ‘have I got to face the shops at Christmas’ hyperventilation and the 'should I buy the ham now or later' anxiety.