Almost Heaven….

25/06/11 10:34 PM



Almost heaven…………West Virginia……………Blue Ridge Mountains……….Shenandoah River……..Life is old there , older than the trees…….Younger than the mountains, flowing like the breeze…”

Stop.  Stop.  Stop.

Correct musical artist.

 Wrong song.

Take it from the top.

“He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year ……Coming Home to a place he’s never been before…Left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again…..Might say he found a key for ev’ry door……..”

That’s better. This is the song I wish to sing. Rocky Mountain High by John Deutschendorf and Mike Taylor. Deutschendorf was better known as “John Denver.”

I am in Denver, Colorado USA. Thoughts turn to you John Denver, singing about the Rocky Mountains and the beauty of  Colorado.

It is often difficult to think of people who influenced my life that have departed.

This is  my first trip to Colorado; and it’s quasi-motivated by a pop song.

Rocky Mountain High was on every  radio station’s play list in the 1970s. Our family would sing along to this John Denver song in our green Mercury station wagon, with faux wood paneling. I have happy memories of family car sing-alongs as we tooled up the Maine Turnpike to our summer home. Whenever Rocky Mountain Highwould play from our car radio, our entire family would sing along–especially my father (who sings Gregorian chants and still remembers how to sing the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Mass–in Latin–without sheet music.)  He too was a John Denver fan.

Maybe somewhere out there, there is a family singing in a automobile to Poker Face. I don’t know what moves or motivates modern American families when it comes to car singing in the 21st century. Do families still sing in cars–together?

Rocky Mountain High is a ebullient, catchy, bouncy, environmentally friendly song. It is on my private top 25 “Songs-I-Like” list.

John Denver seemed outstretched towards the end of his short life. I speculate he left his often difficult world not as happy as he could have been. Just an intuitive observation.

In a secret way, I dedicate my Colorado trip to John Denver however hokey this sounds. As a youth, the thought of being a mile high above sea level was intriguing. I wanted to see snow covered mountains–in summer. It took thirty plus years to make my dream a reality.

John. You were a  great singer and lyrical story teller. I hummed your song as I deplaned from my Delta Airline flight at the Denver, Colorado airport; a structure that looks like a circus tent.

Yes, humming this classic song was sentimental and goofy, yet it transformed me back to a happier time in my life; a time  when summer was elongated and laced with limitless possibilities.  

The best way to describe Denver, Colorado  is through its people and environment. In a future post, I will write a stream-of-consciousness piece sharing my impressions of Colorado. I’m braced for the “what is this?”  and “what  is your point?” e-mails.

The point is, points often move in different directions; adrift at times–like we often feel at times. 

I say, spice it up.  ee Cummings wrote in a different style. Many shook their head thinking poetry must have structure rigid as steel. I sort of remember this in my Freshman Literature class at Boston College.  I say essay writing takes many different forms.  When I publish my Denver post (no relation to the outstanding Denver newspaper) I’m sure the “what is this?” e-mails will arrive in my in-box.

The air is thin in the Mile High City. I did feel short of breath and woozy at times. Was this the Rocky Mountain High John Denver was singing about?  Was this caused by being in an altered  state of  consciousness due to Colorado’s magnificent scenery and air? One will never know since I’ll never have the opportunity to take you out for dinner John and have a meaningful, rich conversation.

John. Thank you for the inspiration. Wherever you are in the universe, on this glorious third day of summer, I’m singing your song.

Brendan Ben Feeney

10 Comments on “Almost Heaven….”

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