Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yes, this is pretty much how I felt when I was there, too...

I seem to be in a really good music groove lately.

When I first started listening to Mumford & Sons, it wasn't long thereafter that I saw them play a few songs on VH1's Unplugged. My only real disappointment was that the show was a half hour long and they only aired three songs.  I wanted more!

And one of the songs, England, wasn't even theirs!  It is by The National, an indie band out of Cincinnati, OH.  Fortunately, it's a great song. I love the original version.  But I think M&S made it just a little better...

I've only spent a week in London (two weeks total in the UK) so far in my life, and it was a while ago, but I still have very vivid memories of the general atmosphere, of the places we visited, and of the people we met.

I remember being awed into silence during the drizzly walk back from Westminster Abby after listening to the choir. I recall thinking it would be hard to sit in such an overwhelming and monumental building, listening to the beautiful sounds of the boys' choir, and not have your belief in a higher power be strengthened. And this was even in my rebellious, flop-but-shaved haircut, long black trench coat, spiked bracelet and boots days.

When visiting another cathedral (the name of which leaves me at the moment), we entered from the east and ended up leaving the grounds from the west. Upon exiting, I figured if I just turned left, and then made two more lefts, I'd end up back where I started. So I turned left. After about 15 minutes of walking, I realized I'd never come across any way of turning left! I looked back behind me to see the whole rest of the group following... as if I knew where I was going. I was having a good time, so I didn't say anything, but kept walking. Eventually, we ended up in a residential neighborhood, where we walked past a cemetery to see two men digging a grave out by hand. I waved. They stopped to stare at the punk teenager leading a group of people on a walk down a quiet street in the outskirts of London.

In Bath, while walking through one of the markets, I was approached by a couple with a German Shepard; they were panhandling for money. I'd seen most people shy away from them - two less-than-kept Brits with dreadlocks and a mangy dog. But, really, they were quite nice and the dog wasn't at all sickly or mangy-looking. I told them I wouldn't give them any money, but if they were hungry I would buy them lunch. (That's always my way of finding out if they really want the money for food or for something else.) To my good fortune, they agreed, and I spent an hour visiting with them, chatting about anything and everything and nothing - where they were from and where I was from and what brought us to that spot on that day. I remember the visit with the homeless British couple more than going to see the old Roman baths, to be honest with you.

I don't often find music that stirs such memories in me...

I want more.


Fitzhugh said...

I followed a link here from some woodworking blog and so far I've seen no woodworking... I've only looked at one page. Instead, though, I was rewarded with a beautiful song, and a story that captures such a truth: It is the connections, the people, that mean so much. A handful of the most meaningful moments in my life have been shared with strangers I would never see again yet left their marks on my for good. Out of those, most were less fortunate than I, which is saying they were pretty unfortunate! Thank you for reminding me of this with your story about the meal with the homeless youth.

Ethan said...

Sorry about the lack of woodworking, Fitzhugh. I was never quite comfortable with posting woodworking and non-woodworking topics in the same blog, so I finally ended up splitting my woodworking out to a new blog called www.thekiltedwoodworker.com. There is also a link to it in the right navigation of this blog.

I'm keeping Grey Stone Green as more of a personal blog at this point, but you're still more than welcome to read and join in the fun of life!

Thanks for the kind words!