It is April, and the world is springing into bud and bloom in a way that fills every morning with hope and delight. Just today, I found that the pea, arugula and broccoli raab seeds that I planted in my garden plot have started to germinate. The bulbs in the park next door are popping.
The trees outside my window are the most wonderful shade of brand-new green. It’s birth. It’s joy. It’s everything good.
But not long ago, it was bleak mid-winter, and I was in a total funk. I found myself listlessly leafing through seed catalogues, finding it hard to imagine what growth even feels like, and letting my mind wander over all the losses and ravages of the last few years. I was blue. I was wallowing.
I started to think about writing a song: This year’s garden…will be different from last year’s garden… A slow and pensive sort of thing, because I was in that kind of mood. A serious song – a ballad! I wrote a serious song, once. It was in 2014. Surely I could write another! Gardens as metaphors for loss and change.
Then I recalled a conversation I’d had, perhaps a month prior, about the songs that make us cry. The one that sprang to mind for me was a song by Raffi, of all people. You will know Raffi if you’ve had, or been, a child in the last 40 years. “Baby Beluga,” his top hit, has been played on Spotify more than 52 million times. The tune that most reliably turns on my waterworks is a Raffi song called “The Changing Garden of Mr. Bell,” which is about….gardens as metaphors for loss and change.
I was, I realized, about to write a Raffi song.
Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against Raffi! “Bananaphone” is a work of towering genius; and if I ever write a song half that good, I will consider mine to be a life well-lived. But I don’t need to write a pensive ballad about gardens, because Raffi already did.
So I wrote a different kind of song about gardens as metaphors. If you haven’t already watched the video, you can catch it here.
Then maybe you can share it with a friend. Because as it turns out, this tune has NOT been viewed 52 million times! I’m currently at less than 100 hits. I’d love to reach a few more gardening fans – so if you like it, please pass it along.
And please keep an eye out for my next song! It’s a pensive ballad about a young Beluga whale.