Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 7) 

Is there more wretched place than Florida in which to spend the summer months? I sometimes wonder.

Showy, sub-tropical fauna may be in full fanciful bloom around here, but enjoying it really has to be done from behind window glass. Unless you happen to be an alligator, venturing outside, even in the evening, is a sickeningly uncomfortable affair, and beads of sweat will populate your person within seconds. But, sooner or later, the bedraggled container plantings in your front yard will beg to be watered, and you have to venture outside to face the welcoming committee of equally thirsty mosquitoes.

So, last night, there I was with my trusty garden hose, valiantly swatting away battalions of bugs and trying to water weary hibiscus and Mexican petunia both - all the while cursing under my breath - when I heard the faint strains of my daughter's piano playing and singing emanating from the front room of the house. 

Now, listening to Emma play and sing is always good for whatever ails me, regardless of the song, but this particular performance was to prove especially uplifting. I moved in for a closer listen.

The chords were simple; the tempo slow and steady, but the melody was sweet and  intoxicating, and although it sounded familiar, I couldn't place it for a second. Of course I couldn't place it - 14-year-old girls aren't supposed to be singing Elephants by Crowded House for their own amusement are they? 

As I listened to her sing, I found myself grinning like a madman. Why wouldn't I? I doubt that many, if any, of Emma's peers are aware of, let alone in-tune with, the music of Crowded House. Hell, I doubt that many of her friends' parents are even aware that Crowded House are still a band and that Neil Finn continues to write music this beautiful. And yet, here I am, listening to my daughter's voice dancing in the night air -

"Elephants come down to the water hole at dusk
They feel the same as us about life
We all take a drink, the sun begins to sink
The alligator waits for his time"

Instinctively, I let the garden hose fall to the ground and ventured inside to attend to more important business. I made it just in time to join her in singing the refrain:

"Let admit the world don't turn around us
It's acting like we don't exist
A drunk that's sleeping in the corner
Sweet dreams, make waves, find bliss"

It was a sublime moment for me. I mean, I knew that she appreciated the quality music of the and all. The "Intriguer" CD (the album from whence Elephants came) had long been a fixture in the car's CD player, and I'd seen that knowing look in her eyes whenever we'd sing along to it in the car. But, the fact that she'd actually gone to the trouble of downloading the sheet music for it, so she could play it herself, thrilled me to no end. It was one of those moments when you just feel so blessed, you almost have to pinch yourself. 

Yeah, it's as miserable as sin outside, and there's still yard-work to be done, but right now I'm so content. I'm standing by the piano, singing along with my beautiful daughter as she plays a song by one of my all-time favourite songwriters. Life is good.

"... Sweet dreams, make waves, find bliss."