Sometimes it’s just too much. Every time I open the paper there’s another disaster looming in Washington. We no sooner fend off one attack when another one comes to take its place like a horrific modern version of the Persian Immortals. First it’s health care, then it’s internet privacy, then its the nomination of a right-wing warrior to the still-open seat on the Supreme Court. It’s immigrant policy gone awry by a Twittering imbecile who seems to be taking his marching orders from Wall Street and mainstream Republicans, the very people he pledged to push back. We’re surrounded on all sides and fighting like mad just to stay in the same place.
Like all good revolutionaries, I really do need some serious R&R to stay in the game. We have at least two years until there’s a potential change of guard in Congress. Hopefully, we won’t be a smoking pile of rubble by then, or by 2020.
On the positive side, I’ve come to know my Members of Congress: 2 senators and one congress woman. They’re very progressive. In fact one, Elizabeth Warren, is a rising star and possible someday-president. I meditate every day, try to get out of the house if the weather cooperates (we’ve had a few storms roar past these last few weeks) and my energy level is up to it. Today, I happened to be working on a business page I have on Facebook and came across the part of the feed that digs up something from your past:
I usually ignore it, but this time I didn’t. A year ago one of my cousins shared a video of a group of women singing traditional Polish folk songs. I grew up hearing the Americanized versions of some of these and hated their corny, jerky rhythms with a passion. But this – this was different. It was beautiful and it touched something in me, I think because of the elderly woman who was sitting next to them. She was just listening to the song at first then, tentatively, began to sing along with the lyrics as she remembered them. Towards the end she added a few additional, quavering lyrics of her own.
That woman could have been my grandmother.
It’s a very sad, old love song. A woman is in an apple orchard and sings about a boy who’s become angry at her for unknown reasons. After a while, though, he forgives her and comes back. It’s very rural with themes that run throughout Slavic traditional music. There’s always a girl. Or a boy. Fill in with orchards, fields and animals and you have a Slavic folk song.
My grandmother loved to sing and took every opportunity to do so. It kept us amused as kids and filled lonely hours when we were away at school and my parents at work. Now that I’m older and my grandmother (babcia, in Polish) is long, long gone I wish I’d learned some of those songs and sang them for her, along with my fiddle, like the woman in the video does. I wish I had her back, just to do that and re-connect with something very old and down to the roots.