Monday, November 7, 2011


I happened to turn on Piers Morgan Friday night and Susan Boyle was on and I decided to listen to what she was going to sing. I've never bought any album of hers or downloaded any songs but the little voice said watch it and I'm learning to roll with those little small nudges. I find that there are no coincidences lately.

Susan began belting out "Both Sides Now" and the hairs began to rise on my body. But what the heck does this song mean? I'm fairly exhausted due to too many activities over the last 2 weeks and my brain feels foggy. I google the lyrics and then have to look up someone else's interpretation because just as in Freshman English Literature class, I have no idea what the writer was talking about and this case it is Joni Mitchell.

The interpretations gave me chills again. (No coincidences! Listen to my gut!) Looking at life from both sides now, as a child and as an adult, life doesn't make sense. Life IS a mystery. The more I journey I acknowledge God's presence much more often than I use to and I choose to think of it as the Holy Spirit around me.

(An aside, the description of looking at both sides reminds me of Richard Rohr and his two halves of life which I would reference but I am too tired to look it up)

Also, I feel some friendships fade away and others take their place and it's better to roll with it rather than fighting it like I use to. I appreciate the old friendships for what they were and how long they lasted and celebrate the new. And, I have learned to say I love you right OUT LOUD. Expressing one's feelings is risky but connecting to those we love and who are able to reciprocate is a precious, precious gift.

Awkward transition... Back to Susan Boyle and her story which is quite remarkable. Her 2009 appearance on "Britain's Got Talent" and watching Simon Cowell's jaw drop and eyebrows raise was spectacular. (I tried to post but it was not available.) She was forty seven years old. Dreams can still come true to those who need more time to percolate. And she had chutzpah to stand on that stage in the beginning of the song as they were rolling their eyes at her. She was so brave and then she nailed it, with everything she had.

I am old enough to remember hearing Judy Collins' version of "Both Sides Now" and connecting to it long ago but I had no idea what it was speaking of, the melody was just beguiling. But Susan Boyle's slow version stands out to me now. Her Scottish accent is so thick to me I can barely understand what she is saying but when she sings, it is crystal clear. It seems magical to me when that happens for her and others. I wish that magic happened to my voice!

Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, 1969

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds * that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev'ry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all


  1. I have loved that song forever...thanks for sharing this version and your thoughts about it. I had never really thought about what it meant...isn't it funny how things take on a different meaning with age and wisdom? :-)

  2. That was what amazed me, that I connected to it so long ago and had no idea - it must have been the melody that had me. Thanks Karen!