Saturday, June 9, 2012

O Shenandoah, I Long to See You...

A couple saturdays ago I participated in a workshop put on by my grandparents focused on expression of the soul through song.  I'll not recount everything that we did-- we were there from 10 to 5, with a concert that night until 8:30, so it was a long day!-- but there were some parts that I really liked, so I thought I'd highlight some of the high parts that I particularly found both enjoyable and relevant to my life experience.

One of the many things we did at the workshop was get into small groups.  In these small groups we got to each pick out a song from our childhood-- I chose the the Meatball Song!  If you don't know that song, you obviously didn't have a childhood, but here's the song for your listening pleasure:

Oh! Another family favorite was sung as well-- I'm Gonna Tell On You!  I think less people have heard of that one, and it has a lot of different verses, but here's a version that I found on the internet:

I'm gonna tell, I'm gonna tell
I'm gonna holler and I'm gonna yell
And I'll get you in trouble for everything you do
I'm gonna tell on you

I'm gonna tell how you broke the plate
And I'll tell about all the bananas you ate
I'll tell on you one time, I'll tell on you two
I'm gonna tell on you

I'm gonna tell 'bout where you hid your gum
And I'm gonna tell that you still suck your thumb
I'm even gonna tell her about the cat and the glue
I'm gonna tell on you

I'm gonna tell 'bout where you hid the broom
So you would not have to clean up your room
And when she finds out, she'll sweep it with you
I'm gonna tell on you

I'm gonna tell how you punched me and bit me
And I'm gonna tell how you socked me and hit me
But I won't tell Momma what I did to you
I'm just gonna tell on you

I'm gonna holler and I'm gonna bawl
And she's gonna smash you all over the wall
And when he comes home, I'll tell Daddy too
I'm gonna tell on you

The other really interesting part of the workshop was singing a song that was important to us or was on our minds that day. I wasn't sure I wanted to speak, but I had a song in mind. In the end, I couldn't even finish the first verse because I began to cry so hard. This was the song.

I sang this song in choir when I was in high school (this particular video is NOT my high school choir, but it is the same version we sang performed by the St. Olaf Choir-- they're amazing, so I saw fit to put their video on here).  We would sing it on the years the choir went on their Europe trip-- every other year. To this day it is my favorite song from Choir-- I will never forget it, it has a place close to my heart.  The reasons why it's such an emotional song for me are many, but I'll lay a few out for you here. One reason is that it was reserved for when the choir went away from home-- it's a song of longing, that pulling of heartstrings you feel for your homeland.  It was different from The Lord Bless You And Keep you, which we sang at every concert every year, it was only for the Europe trip years.  My Europe trip year was 2007, which was also my first year in Chamber Choir (the most advanced choir at my high school).  That was my favorite year of all my time in choir at NU; we got to sing (in my opinion) the best songs, and I got to be a part of a select group of kids to make amazing music together.  I got to sing this song one last time with this group on that trip to Europe-- it was like a farewell song to them, and a reminder to me that I only had a year before I too was going to leave home for college.

Four years after graduation, and this song still resonates with me.  I have since moved to the bay area, away from "home".  But more than that, I feel that I don't really have a "home"-- not in that true-belonging kind of a way, that one place where you feel you were meant to be, that envelopes you in contentment and joy and stability.  It's not just about the roof over your head; home is a physical, mental and emotional space, not only for the self, but for community as well.  That's the difference between the home I'm looking for and the home I currently occupy.  I do like where I live, and I'm not saying I don't have a place to call my own, because I do, and I don't want anyone to think I hate where I live.  I don't. It's not like that, I see it in a different way. I'm at a time in my life where the home of my formative years is not mine anymore-- it is very clear to me that I do not belong there, and I don't mean that in a negative way.  I've changed so much since I moved, I am a different person than I was 4 years ago.  The way I think, the beliefs I hold, they don't resonate with life in Grass Valley, and that's okay. It's my job to find a new home, and I know it's out there, somewhere in the world.  And my heart longs for it.  And when I hear this song, these lyrics, it reminds me of the pull, that longing.

O Shenandoah, I long to see you
And hear your rollin' river
O Shenandoah, I long to see you
Way, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri

It's no Shenandoah, but it could be home one day...

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