Mitchell’s Lyrical Enigma? ~ Sunday Songs Series

For week #35 of our Sunday Songs Series, we find Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell presenting us with a lyrical enigma. What, exactly, is her Sunny Sunday story-line all about? To be sure, when her word count is a scant 100 playing out in 2 minutes and 36 seconds, clues are few and far between.

When interviewed way back in 1994 by Tracey Macleod on BBC2 TV’s The Late Show, Mitchell did shed a bit of light…

“It’s not autobiographical. Actually it’s kind of a composite portrait. I have a friend who I paint with, who had a roommate who did this. It’s just the story of a woman waiting for some little change to give a new direction… it’s a kind of a mysterious little song. It’s also the shortest song I ever wrote.”

As is true with most noteworthy lyrics / poetry, one’s imagination does tend to roam freely. In my own case, this resulted in some scenarios that might account for someone taking potshots at a streetlight.

Might Mitchell’s pistol-packing protagonist be a…

a. militant, dark skies seeking stargazer / environmentalist battling light pollution?
b. stressed-out worker tormented by unresolved anger management issues?
c. 2nd Amendment domestic terrorist totally entrenched within America’s gun sick society?
d. misguided hero worshiper of Bonnie (Parker) and Clyde (Barrow)?

Oh btw… the comment section awaits those who’d like to express their own theories.

For those who’d like to see where our next Sunday Songs Series adventure will take us, stop back here seven days from now…




Time To (NOT) See The Light

According to an article published in the journal, Science Advances, 99% of European and North American populations “live” under light polluted conditions, which means that most of humanity rarely, if ever, actually sees the night skies the way nature had originally intended. We now have entire generations of folks who have never even seen the Milky Way galaxy.

Bright, manmade lighting turning night into day has far more serious implications than one might expect. If you’ll excuse the wordplay, let’s turn to two brilliant guys who’ll enlighten us.

According to U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Chris Elvidge…

“For several generations, people in large urban centers have had their view of the Milky Way blocked. This is an aesthetic loss, and perhaps a spiritual loss in terms of feeling a connection to the cosmos.”

University of California, Berkeley, Psychology Prof. Dacher Keltner concurs…

“The bright night sky and its stars has long been a profound source of awe and inspiration, which we know to stir creativity, generosity, good will and innovation. Losing a clear night sky will harm our capacity for wonder and put a dent in our spirit of common cause.”

Studies and experiments have corroborated what these learned men stated above. Our having a sense that we’re part of something larger really does humble us. In that state of mind, our behavior becomes more altruistic and sympathetic… and less narcissistic and barbaric.

It’d be a safe bet to say that calloused, hubristic, egomaniacs (such as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan) have rarely, if ever, seen the real night sky.

My being an amateur astronomer, in my light polluted suburban region, I can attest to the fact that even with the aid of my 90mm refractor telescope, I can no longer see the subtle lighting of the Milky Way. That sight has been relegated to the realm of a fond boyhood memory.

We humans really need to experience those “Oh WOW”, goose bumps producing moments. If we cannot see what the real night sky has to offer, we could easily become more artificial than the artificial lighting, which is rapidly condemning us all to that nightmarish fate.

If we ever hope to “see the light” / hope to better ourselves, then we must not see too much light at night.