Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

11 October 2005

"There's a Long, Long Trail"

This is one of the very few songs from this book that has stuck in my head throughout the years, in a good way. Again, could be the evocative picture that goes with it, which looks so much trails from my childhood, from the Pennsylvania forests. It's a poignant little piece too, but not too sappy or silly.

It makes me hungry for some genuine hiking in those forests. Years ago I hiked pieces of the Appalachian trail over several summers. Never more than five or six days at a go; parts of it were very hard hiking indeed. Carrying all of our gear on our backs, hiking over rocks big enough to be called boulders, I really liked the peace of it, and the green woods all around me were very comforting.

I grew up in a smaller woods. My parents live still in the house, on a one-lane, dead-end, dirt road with seven houses on it. When I was growing up there were only five. We were surrounded by the woods, and beyond that, farmland. Now the farmland is gone, replaced by suburbs, and all the wildlife from miles around is converging on the woods near my folks' home. My dad counted six bucks the other day in their back yard. Beautiful, but as a sign of things coming to an end, also very sad.

I think the woods around my parents are still safe from the encroaching 'burbs, for the most part. The creek runs through it, and the hills are fairly steep in most parts, though I suppose that wouldn't stop anyone who was really determined to dig up the whole thing. There is a protected area, a nature reserve, on the other side of the woods from where they are, at least that should be safe. I don't know whether to feel good or bad that my daughter has really taken into herself my worry about the wild places, and the need to protect them. She's very upset about cheetahs right now, concerned that they will disappear in her lifetime. I would be very upset if the cheetahs were gone, too, but I must admit that I'm more upset that my 'aboriginal rights of passage' may be gone for the miles of deer trails in those south-eastern Pennsylvania woods.

My husband and I are waiting until my daughter's old enough to go for longer hikes. Eventually we'd love to do more of the Appalachian Trail, this time with her. I still think I'd find peace in that.


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