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.


Michelle said...

" ... it is tree underlined in bold ..."

Classic! You are clever. This I want to remember.

Rachel Fox said...

Doesn't sound like twaddle to me. Completely twaddle-free.

Spot said...

Loved reading this piece. Sandy Denny - I remember hearing Blackwaterside when I was a kid and feeling like a had swallowed it. Also love your piece from your Liverpool trip.

Writearound said...

Michelle, Rachel and Spot many thanks for taking the time to post a comment.You know I forget most of the time that there are people out there reading the blog. When people comment it feels like the time someone came up to me after a reading and told me how much they liked a poem of mine that had been published years ago in a very obscure journal. It suddenly made me understand that writing, no matter how much I may feel that it is a solitary habit and maybe an exercise in egotism is actually a dialogue. I write because that is what I need to do but being heard is the sound of the other hand clapping in the forest. I had a chat yesterday with a Big issue salesman, who regularly makes his way out to my small fen town as he sells more out here than he would do in the city. He has a really lively sales banter but one thing he said that hit home was, 'I can talk myself to death in the city but no one really hears me but here , even if they walk by me and don't buy a copy they nod or smile and I get the feeling they've heard me, which makes me feel I'm here, that I'm not just another noise or a car back firing.' So thank you for hearing me.

Rachel Fox said...

I found you on Handful of Stones.