“And as the moon rises he sits by his fire, thinking about women and glasses of beer.” – James Taylor, Sweet Baby James
The weekend begins soon, but I know its abbreviated. I’ll be driving west Sunday to Rochester, New York for an early start Monday morning. And so it goes. The trip on I-90 is a familiar one, and each season brings its own delights and challenges. June brings tourists, exploding bugs on the windshield and orange cones. But also a lovely green carpet on the Berkshires.
The Berkshires make me think of Sweet Baby James. If Boston has Dirty Water and Shipping Up to Boston, the Mass Turnpike has Sweet Baby James. Its a song that I’ve listened to countless times, but it brings back memories of being a college kid driving I-90 to Ontario, Syracuse and Indianapolis for regattas. Driving back is when the song resonates, as the song is about longing for what you’ve left behind to do what you need to do. Both a song for the restless spirits in the world and a lovely lullaby I used to sing to my kids to get them to fall asleep many moons ago.
“Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose, won’t you let me go down in my dreams? And rock-a-bye sweet baby James.”
In winter I’ve put this song right after I cross the border from New York into Massachusetts and see the mountains rise up ahead of me. The lyrics offer an appropriate soundtrack and after many days away from home I’m usually very ready to get back. And so the song carries me there…
“Now the first of December was covered with snow
and so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Though the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting
with ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go”
My daughter posted something online stating her favorite colors are blue and forest green. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and somewhere along the way those lullaby’s resonated for her as well. James, with an assist from me, has left his mark on another generation. And so it continues.
“There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway
a song that they sing when they take to the sea
a song that they sing of their home in the sky, maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep
but singing works just fine for me”