A couple of nights ago while I was watching the sun setting from the Back River pier, I could see flashes of lightning far off in the distance and once in a while hear the deep low sound of rumbling, grumbling thunder. Those are both powerful phenomena. Light against dark; sound against silence. In fact, threatening phenomena … so powerful … so beyond our control.
It took some time for the winds to bring the clouds as far as the ocean but, once the sun had gone down – I almost wrote ‘had gone into hiding for the night’ – the clouds did come and fast and then the flashes of lightning seemed to come quicker and quicker, the thunder louder.
A torrential downpour begins with a single drop of rain … then another and another and another until you can’t count them anymore and you certainly can’t escape the drama … you can only take it in, experience it, live it, and marvel at it.
There was a deafening loud, booming clap of thunder; lightning like fireworks and flashes showed who was in charge and then STOP. The lights went out. The ceiling fans stopped. Darkness took over. The rain was coming down in torrents. The storm had taken over. I thought about the story of Jonah on the boat before he jumped overboard.
… The rain continued … and continued … and continued …
I fell asleep. And you don’t know what happens while you’re asleep, do you? Remember the story of Rip Van Winkle?
Well, a sound woke me up … the ceiling fan started to turn again … a light went on somewhere … I must have hear the refrigerator start up again … Signs that the electricity had come back on. I looked at my watch: 3:31 am. I went outside. Pools of water on the ground. Stars, a universe of stars above.
I thought for a moment: This is one of the reasons I’m here. Even if I didn’t know it, even if I hadn’t been aware of it until then: The Connection.
The back in time connection. The connection to real places and events, sources. The connection to people you know … even when you meet them for the first time.
There’s a saying that says: There’s no place like home.” Well, I’d say …
“There’s no place like Tybee.”
Unlike the French terms “délai” and “délais” which refer to an expected or planned time frame, the English words delay and delayed mean being late.
Here’s an illustration of a ‘less than an hour” delay:
Once announced, it was, in fact, not only on time but … ahead of the ETA!
Savannah, as you can see, was appropriately named:
There are rivers winding in and out and around.
So it’s probably wonderful to have a boat down here. If you manage to find the time to use it … And if you don’t have a boat, it’s still nice to have a dock on the marshes.
And if you don’t happen to have your own private dock … you’re probably not getting mosquito bites either … but that won’t prevent you from using the one at Lazaretto Creek or at Tybee.
where you can go fishin’ … or crabbin’ … or just make friends and keep an eye open for dolphins …
All you really need is time. So don’t … delay.
Folk music is all about folk – people, family, friends, you and me and everyone else; individuals coping with life’s everyday cares. Happy ones and sad, hard and sweet.
Folk music provides us with a country’s history because it’s the people’s history … and how can we understand the present without a feeling and grasp of the working people who’ve lived before us, built our railroads, plucked our cotton, suffered the dust storms and prayed for rain? Brought us to where we are? Not only with their successes … but also their failures. Folk is about “everyday” people in touch with their emotions, their strengths, their weaknesses, their environments.
American folk music is so incredibly rich that I’d like to introduce you to a few tunes, stories, people and songs. Far from today’s global political stage, these songs are rooted in everyday experience. Pionners. Immigrants. Roamers.Expressions of work, love, family, discovery.
Without the advent of sound recording, they’d be lost. Fortunately, there are many many recordings and thanks to a fellow whose name was Moses Asch, the Folkways Collection was a lifetime project to guarantee their perennity … and I, at least, am grateful to him and his team for their work. Vanguard Records, too, as well as major and minor labels produced artists whose souls are still very alive.
Folk music is for listening. And here’s one of the classics: Woody Guthrie, of course.
PS.The Folkways Collection put about 2 dozen podcasts on the net for free downloads on iTunes (and maybe elsewhere!) … and this leads me to one of my father’s, bless his soul, favorite sayings:
“A word to the wise is sufficient.”
What do round numbers and generalties have in common?
They’re always false!
And while I’m tempted to say that ‘down’ here in Savannah everyone’s so nice … it’s probably because we just haven’t encountered the other kind! But kind they are. And while that may be just the generality we want to avoid … the folk I’ve been meeting are hard-working, upstanding friendly souls … the kind Woody Guthrie could have sung about.
Yesterday, I met Lem for the first time. He comes from Darlington, South Carolina. A fine man, finer you’d probably not find: Stephanie said she didn’t take the first one that came along, and not the second or third either…. She waited for the best. And they make a mighty fine couple.
Lem says there are about 6500 people in Darlington and that they’re good folk.
France, too, has lots and lots of real good folk. Just got to get to know ’em.
Sit down to table. Share a few dozen oysters with a Muscadet or a “pot au feu” and a simple red wine and you’ll … start to get to know each other. Not just the appearances but what you’ve got in common … rather than what separates you.
And that involves one of the best qualites we can have: knowin’ how to listen … and knowin’ when to talk.
And that ain’t no generality. Just the plain simple truth.
For Michel D. .. but not only!