Take me to the River

20121229-215907.jpgTalking Heads Take Me To The River Lyrics

Songwriters: GREEN, AL L. / HODGES, MABON

Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, drop me in the water, water
I don’t know why I love her like I do
All the trouble that you put me through
Take my money, my cigarettes
I haven’t seen the worst of it yet
I wanna know, can you’ll tell me?
I love to stay
Take me to the river (Take me to the river), drop me in the water (Drop me in the water)
Dip me in the river (Take me to the river), drop me in the water (Drop me in the water, water) …

The talking heads song “Take me to the River” was being piped through the health clubs sound system. I was in the women’s locker room unfastening my padlock in an attempt to gain some warmth from the clothes that lay within, but I paused as the River was conjured up by the song’s lyrics.

My father and I had driven across the wide expanse of the Hudson to come to the town of Lloyd for some laps at his health club there. We had discussed the vast beauty of the Hudson River as our car, seemingly dwarfed, crossed over the now frigid waters of the Hudson. Daddy spoke of Joni Mitchell’s song “River”.

The lyrics crawled through my brain………….

It’s coming on Christmas, they are cutting down trees. They’re putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace, Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on….
I wish I had a river so long I would teach my feet to fly I wish I had a river I could skate away on….

The lyrics captured old interior images. Glimpses of old videos Dad had collected with his 1960 plus home movie camera came into my mental movie theatre. My sister Kimmy jumping high across our pond now frozen. Me digging my ice skate picks into the ice pretending to be a car using regular gasoline……..Not the advertised No Knocks gasoline offered to you courtesy of Exxon…….no no knocks gas for this gal. It was a kind of ridiculous 1970 or so type humor for the suburban clad kid. How many hours had we skated to the music of the Carpenters? How many spins? How many jumps, how many shooting ducks? How many hours had Daddy flooded the pond, finding just the perfect combination of water and air to concoct the best outdoor suburban pond skating surface? We had sat for hours watching the olympic skaters, borrowed from their expertise. Peggy Fleming, Janet Lynn, Dorothy Hammil………who we had even seen skate live in Lake Placid and mouthing off to her mom in the bleachers……

But I was further north now, crossing this icy expanse of the Hudson that the Mid Hudson River Bridge gazed down on. Had it really been forty years…click, click, click, the second hand purred, purred and bounded into the new calendar of now. now that the Mayans had thrust us into a new type of time.

The River has been calling me for over a year now. Her voice was muffled at first. Her eyes have gotten involved along with her mouth now. She reminds me that I was born on her shores in Northern Manhattan. My first mortal breathes were drawn upon her reflection. I grew for six more years along her shores in the hamlet of Dobbs Ferry.

Daddy and I had watched her waves lap along the shores of the railroad station there. We flew kites along her river plain soil. I gazed across her expanse and captured blinks of lights from the other shore. The river was a wondrous and mystical place where sound bent and bounded, a chasm where light played uniquely, a place where my soul gazed across a vast horizon capturing light, trees, hope, grace, and the magic that only unraveling waters can inspire.

I am on the proverbial diving board, poised to spring forth from the high mountains of the southwest, parched from the eons of seasons the sun has spread her rays across her barren landscape. I have spent well over a decade and a half lying exposed to the elements without the soothing sounds of water, nor tall trees to gather shade.

and yet, with this homecoming I feel unsteady. My home is now a stranger. A birth mother that has let her child run free far from her shores. I will walk carefully along her shores once again with faith that her draw, her pull should be heeded and listen to songs like Dar Williams’ The Hudson


Dar Williams
The hudson Lyrics
Album: My Better Self

If we’re lucky we feel our lives
know when the next scene arrives
so often we start in the middle and work our way out

we go to some grey sky diner for eggs and toast
New York Times or the New York Post
then we take a ride through the valley of the shadow of death
but even for us New Yorkers, there’s a time in every day
the river takes our breath away

And the Hudson, it holds the life
we thought we did it on our own

The river roads collect the tolls
for the passage of our souls
through silence, over woods, through flowers and snow
and past the George Washington Bridge,
down from the trails of Breakneck Ridge,
the river’s ancient path is sacred and slow

And as it swings through Harlem,
it’s every shade of blue
into the city of the new brand new

And the Hudson, it holds the life
we thought we did it on our own
I thought I had no sense of place or past
time was too slow, but then too fast
the river takes us home at last

Where and when does the memory take hold,
mountain range in the Autumn cold
and I thought West Point was Camelot in the spring.
If you’re lucky you’ll find something that reflects you,
helps you feel your life protects you,
cradles you and connects you to everything.
This whole life I remember as they begged them to itself
never turn me into someone else

And the Hudson, it holds the life
we thought we did it on our own

And the Hudson, holds the life
we thought we did it on our own




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