| "Love sees like a child sees." Love Ignites. |
Lighting Love Lanterns on a January evening, -17°F.
Lately, there has been something about the return drive home from Little Lad's school which makes me prone to strange moments of clarity, sometimes even epiphany. (Maybe because it is one of my few windows of quiet anymore.) This past week I had one such moment. Readying myself for a turn onto Spenard, I was flustered because the borderline muzak station I play in the mornings (muzak is magick: it quells chaos magnificently) was missing from the dial. Up & down the known call zone I searched. I never found it. Instead, I was stopped by a very familiar range of uncommon notes, then a voice for which there is no comparison. It was Joni Mitchell.
In my younger years, that enigmatic voice filled our home. As a child, I always knew that Mitchell sang about important, mysterious, grown-up things -- things that adults understood, but children didn't. (Some of this may have been because one of the more popular albums at the time was Heijra, an album about solitude & spiritual journey.) When I was in college, I was reintroduced to Mitchell's music in the form of her Night Ride Home album, which shocked, awed & moved me in both uplifting & uncomfortable ways. It was then that I could see why I didn't understand Mitchell's songs as a child. As a young woman, coming into my own, Mitchell's music suddenly made perfect sense.
"As a child I spoke as a child
I thought and I understood as a childBut when I became a womanI put away childish thingsAnd began to see through a glass darkly" -- Joni Mitchell
As I was driving, the words to a song I had never heard before, couched in such a familiar voice, rang in my head like an epiphany. I marveled at how, in this world ruled by commercial radio, this song even came to be aired on the radio & I made sure to recall the lines so that I might find it again later. I knew it was important, I knew it might even be gospel.
An Animist's Gospel According to Mitchell. If you subscribe to the idea that animism stems from the childlike love for the living world (& it's all living), then this song speaks miles & mountains. It is also -- as can be expected from this songstress -- quite beautiful & thick with her characteristic melancholy hope. But for me, the most salient point was that it sounded like animism & it drew me to a sharp focus, a most salient point: ultimately, animism is not so much about reverence, honour or respect as it is about Love. If there is Love, all the rest follows.
"Children are closer to the Source" -- my husband's words -- they Love without qualification. This is why they so naturally "get it," while we rational adults flounder about trying to get out of our heads so that we might be with, reclaim & love Love again.
"Where as a child I saw it face to face
Now I only know it in part..." -- Joni Mitchell
I could dismantle the verse, analyze it, line by line, explaining all the layers upon layers of meaning it offers to us. Or, I can do as a child would do: enjoy it, share it, love it & trust that it will make perfect sense to the people who choose to hear it.
|Love on the rise.|
Love, by Joni Mitchell
Although I speak in tongues
Of men and angels
I'm just sounding brass
And tinkling cymbals without love
Love suffers long
Love is kind!
Enduring all things
Love has no evil in mind
If I had the gift of prophecy
And all the knowledge
And the faith to move the mountains
Even if I understood all of the mysteries
If I didn't have love
I'd be nothing
Love never looks for love
Love's not puffed up
Because it rejoices in the truth
Not in iniquity
Love sees like a child sees
As a child I spoke as a child
I thought and I understood as a child
But when I became a woman
I put away childish things
And began to see through a glass darkly
Where as a child I saw it face to face
Now I only know it in part
Fractions in me
Of faith and hope and love
And of these great three
Love's the greatest beauty