Monday, September 20, 2010

The Birds: Part I

Remember that creepy horror flick that scared most of the world a few decades ago where you could see the wires holding the birds that seemed to be flocking around a screaming, flailing woman's head? The one that no longer scares people?

This next set of posts will have nothing to do with said movie.

It seems I have had a lot of birds that are keeping me company as of late. It might be a bit of a stretch, but bear with me for my next few posts.

Bird 1:Meadowlark

I came across this video from a friend of mine (thanks Josh) who is very into musicals. We had talked about the musical Wicked, and how fun the music and story was. The Baker's Wife is written by the same talented writer, Steven Schwartz. You might recognize some of his more popular projects, like Disney's Pocohantas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted, and some other company's Prince of Egypt. In short, he is a prolific songwriter, and I have enjoyed many of his tunes and lyrics. Check him out when you get a chance.

Here is a song from a musical (The Baker's Wife) that has captured my attention recently. I have never seen this musical, and probably never will, but I am entranced by this song every time I hear it. The piano music is quite difficult, from what I understand, and I think Liz Callaway does an amazing rendition in the following video (except for one sour note near the end):

This song comes at a point in the musical where a beautiful younger married woman bumps into a young strapping buck. Her husband is an older man who is generous and kind, but not very affectionate or caring. The buck tries to encourage the wife to run away with him and have an affair. This song is her decision.

While I don't love the topic of the song, I do like the way this woman's story mirrors the story of the meadowlark. The writing (music and lyrics) have a way of engaging entrancing me. As I watch this video, I find myself cheering for the meadowlark, glad that she made the decision to stick to her guns. And then she gets killed.

There is a harsh reality here. Sometimes nice guys do finish last. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes you don't get your burger the way you ordered it. I believe that it isn't what happens to you that makes your life what it is; instead, your life is molded into what it is by the choices you make.

I choose to be the person that I am because I like the results I get. I am a nice guy, and I have finished last many times. The funny thing is, I'm fine with this. I don't have to be the best or the brightest (although I still do try). To steal a line penned by Schwartz, I have found my "corner of the sky." That corner is sometimes not very exotic, but it is perfect.

I'm glad that I don't feel trapped by my situation. Introducing new responsibilities into my life has never been something that I have yearned for, but I have tried to accept them as they come. And sometimes it isn't about the new responsibilities that come, but more about staying true to the old responsibilities that brought you to where you are.

Next time you have a seductive young man coming your way, just sing him this song (if you want to make the same choice she does). If you don't, tell him that you will face the consequences of the Sun God instead of going out with him. Just be prepared for the young buck to strike you dead, just like the meadowlark.

You have been warned.

P.S. Wicked is coming to our neck of the woods in 2011. We are going, and have already purchased tickets. If you get a chance to see the show, please do. If you get a chance to read the book because you loved the musical, please don't. The book wasn't nearly as good.

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