Wonderland

It’s always a pleasure to hear from My Song of the Day for Today readers, either through comments on posts or via emails to me through the Contact link on the website.

Yesterday morning, I received a lovely email from English writer, musician and entrepreneur Andy Hobsbawm, who shared a song by Louisiana, USA-born and London, England-based Americana singer-songwriter Kate Ellis. A walk in the beauty of a park inspired Ellis to write “Wonderland.” The song, for which Hobsbawm has a co-writing credit on the YouTube post of the official video, also inspired a collection of original watercolour paintings by Geraldine van Heemstra of the Wilderness Art Collective, London, UK.

This collaboration of visual art and music, the Wonderland Project, will be put into the hands of world leaders at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference which begins this Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland. The project’s goal is “to give a musical and artistic voice to the environmental rallying cry for urgent government action to protect our planet…” The sketchbook of charcoal drawings and paintings will contain a digital link to the song and a letter from Ellis and van Heemstra to world leaders.

About the song, Ellis says, “‘Wonderland’ is about how perceiving nature in a viscerally connected way gives us a deeper appreciation of it and a deeper sense of loss for what we’re putting at risk. Geraldine’s artwork is the perfect visual expression of the song.”

“My heart’s aching
Every inch of me is shaking
To see the beauty that we’re breaking
Our wonderland

A willow weeps into her cup
And sees her fields turn to dust
The trees that stalk me from all sides
With eyes of a hundred fireflies

A dead oak frozen like a lightning strike
Autumn colour like God’s own bonfire light
And a crown of leaves
Weighing down on me

My heart’s aching
Every inch of me is shaking
To see the beauty that we’re breaking
Our wonderland

I see the knot set in the bark
Like a bullet in its heart
Lava flowing down the trunk
And we’re all going up in smoke

A dead oak frozen like a lightning strike
Autumn colour like God’s own bonfire light
And a crown of leaves
Weighing down on me

My heart’s aching
Every inch of me is shaking
To see the beauty that we’re breaking
Our wonderland
Our wonderland”

(“Wonderland,” by Kate Ellis, Andy Hobsbawm.
Lyrics courtesy of Andy Hobsbawm.)

I am so grateful Hobsbawm invited me to share this song with you. He closes his email with thoughts about the artistic collaboration’s potential: “A lot of political activism is planned for COP26, but we hope that ‘Wonderland’ will communicate differently, in a complimentary way. Perhaps the double emotional punch of visual arts with an anthemic soundtrack can reach the parts that other climate campaigns cannot reach? Like the Washington Star’s famous 1967 ‘Flower Power’ photo of a carnation in the soldier’s gun barrel, you never know what will touch someone and inspire change.”

I was a child when the “Flower Power” photograph made its way around the world and, like so many momentous images in history, its message of peace still resonates with me to this day. May the heartfelt beauty of the Wonderland Project inspire similar levels of hope, commitment, determination and urgent action to save our planet.

To me, “Wonderland” is a love song to our living world and a tribute in hopes of its protection. I’m grateful to have been introduced to it. And I feel that the more of us who know about this song and art, the more people will be there in spirit, supporting wisdom, discernment and courage among the decision-makers at COP26.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. If you like the song, please give the YouTube post a thumb’s up, buy it to support the artist and, most importantly, call on politicians to act now on climate change.

Here’s the official video from Kate Ellis’s YouTube channel:

You can buy the song on iTunes or through Kate Ellis’s Bandcamp page, where I picked it up.

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