This morning I walked with a thankful heart, a heart pumping blood through an aortic artery repaired by Denton Cooley when I was 16. At about the same time as that surgery, I read an article about the poetic elements in Sweet Baby James, by James Taylor.
The song stuck with me and has helped me walk many miles. I sing it softly to avoid disturbing the wildlife or personal embarrassment if another hiker approaches. The words never grow old and, in some ways, become more meaningful with time.
Here’s an excerpt.
Now the first of December was covered with snow
And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Though the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go
Goodnight all you moonlight ladies
Rock-a-bye sweet baby James
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
Won’t you let me go down in my dreams
There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway
There’s a song that they sing when they take to the sea
There’s a song that they sing of their home in the sky
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep,
But singing works just fine for me