Letters of Life

Both Sides Now

I let my vocal coach, a professional singer-musician for 25 years, read this and asked her if she could put a melody to it. How nice if I could sing it on days when I felt under Grace and in the Flow. Upon reading it, she said it reminded her of a Joni Mitchell song.

Do listen to the song Both Sides Now here.

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

Though melancholic, Both Sides Now scintillates with its poetic vision and lyricism. And the melody! Who can forget the tune?
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

It got me thinking about sides, the different sides to people you know, or think you know, or think you’ve figured out a little more than when you last met. Also, there are so many ways of looking at things, and wouldn’t it be good to be in your shoes, even if it was for just one day? (Nik Kershaw, 1984)

People are a lot like clouds, in the way that we see them. From the ground up, they look fluffy and inviting, and from a plane above, they look more misty and ephemeral. And going in and through clouds, it’s actually an unmoving yet anxious experience because it’s blind fog all around and you hope there’s nothing hovering in the path of the airplane zooming forward.

. . . Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day . . .

Sometimes I wonder if what I see in someone else is an illusion put forth by how my mind interprets the words and the actions, expressions on the face and the expressions used in the words. In the end, the action has to speak for itself and thankfully, it does, and they do.

Which brings me to residual impressions and images of this busy and eventful week, only week number two in this coming Year of the Dragon. Some of these include the resolution to do some effective goal-setting with a clearly-defined endpoint. So yeah, you could say one of my goals is to set some goals.

So what? If the shoe fits, wear it baby.

Another impression that loiters, like a party guest who doesn’t know when it’s time to leave, is that of an Alley cat who was explaining the right and left location of some major organs in the body. The remedial had been kickstarted by my asking what he thought of left-brain-right-brain thinking.

The cat was in his element, standing in the doorway a few steps up from where I was inside a small room filled with books, refreshing my mind pedagogically about forgotten biology lessons. Except for a sleek iMac silently perched on a desk, the curtained room was filled with old and familiar things, awash with the curtailed light of a sunny afternoon and time kept travelling back into an era long past.

The diffused light and conversation about old adventures, old choices composed but one part of a mental diptych; the first in sepia tones, and the second panel set instead with urbane food and suffused with references to the 21st century.

This is what it is, both sides now.

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