In my February 14, 2020 post on Elbow’s “Mirrorball,” I told you of Peter Gabriel’s album recorded with a full orchestra, where he made cover versions of other artists’ songs. 

Many of the tracks on Scratch My Back are melodically very beautiful and the cover of Bon Iver’s composition, “Flume,” is particularly so. It seems to me Iver is writing a tribute to motherhood, the creation and nurturing of life in the womb. I think of and play the song whenever I hear of a pregnancy or birth. 

Gabriel’s rendition of “Flume” is a remarkable and emotional piece, made ever so rich and heart-rending by the orchestral arrangement and Gabriel’s graceful vocal. I prefer his cover to the original, as I honestly can’t quite get into Iver’s falsetto singing of it (though I did warm slightly to it on listening to his version when thinking about this post); at the same time, I am grateful that he wrote it for others to interpret.

Today, Sweety and I have taken in so much TV news coverage of all the new cases of COVID-19, including the first presumptive one in my home province of Manitoba, Canada; the situation was “real” before, but certainly has hit closer to home now. We also saw the news rapidly unfolding with many elected leaders, including Canada’s prime minister and his wife, self-isolating as responsible examples of precautionary acts in the current climate. And moment by moment, reports of closures or suspensions of the JUNO Awards, Broadway, the National Hockey League, a local anti-poverty fundraising concert, and so many other public gatherings as a result of the many societal interventions taken to comply with health experts’ advice intended to help slow the spread of the virus.

In light of all this, it seems fitting to post a song that may exude some calm and hope. I feel our society needs some tranquility amidst all that’s happening and our unfiltered and overloaded exposure to it all through social media. 

I’ve been wanting to post this song since soon after starting my blog, and today feels like the right day. The song reminds me about the miracle of new life, and I suppose as an extension to that, the amazing (though imperfect, strained, and perhaps bound to become more so in the short term) Canadian health-care system that helps people through many medical situations, including births.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here… please take good care, stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, and check in on the vulnerable. 

Here’s the official audio from Peter Gabriel’s YouTube channel:

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