Sunday, August 23, 2015

Song #34: Stalking (2015 52-Song Project)

It's been a while since I have felt the need to write a blog post about one of my 52-song Project songs. Many of them have felt self-explanatory, or in a couple of cases, I just didn't feel like I could find the words I wanted to say about the songs, so I left them to speak for themselves.

But this song feels like it could use a little discussion.

The song was inspired by the experience of harvesting wild mushrooms. This is something my mom started doing more than a decade ago. Many times I have gone out into the woods with her and my stepdad.

Mushroom hunting is a very focused task. One's eyes have to be sharply tuned for variations in colour and shape. Mushrooms have excellent camouflage among the rotting wood and fallen leaves of the forest floor. Meditation teachers know well that focusing one sense can set the other senses and the conscious mind free. It is no surprise that harvesting wild mushrooms can be a deeply meditative activity.

This song came out of the thoughts that rose up on several mushroom hunts I went on in the mid-naughts. But the bridge that I originally wrote for the song didn't work very well. And because of that, the song languished for a number of years without being played more than a handful of times. It was only in the summer of 2013 that I came up with the current bridge:

We said we came for one thing only
Ah, but I guess it's no surprise we lied
Something 'bout the light
And the silence here
Quiets the troubles that we hide


Just a few additional notes on the lyrics: the line Death trumpets herald our meeting is a reference to Black Trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus cornucopioides), which in French are known at trompette de la mort, or trumpets of the dead.

The line: At sight of porcini so regal refers to the porcini (Boletus Edulis)'s status as the King Bolete.

And in the final verse, the line The fire and the frying pan are waiting, is a reference to the Lord of the Rings, hobbits' love of mushrooms and Tolkien's use of the expression "Out of the frying pan and into to fire" as a chapter title in his book The Hobbit. I was a HUGE Tolkien fan for many years and I rarely hunt mushrooms without thinking about what a very Hobbit-y activity it is.

Here's the song:

1 comment:

  1. What a rich song, Alex, and what a delightful blog entry. Thank you for your series of songs and thank you for this one. (Greg and I went up the hill yesterday, hunting, hunting for mushrooms, and came back with chanterelles for your supper tonight if you're able to make it over :-)