Moondog

It’s often said that change is a constant.

From the handing off of the suits, shirts and ties that were part of my identity for so many years as a public servant, to serving as a resource to a group that is overseeing a major organizational transition, to the upcoming ending of a group that has gathered for over a year to share exploration of the journey through grief, this week feels like one of huge change. It’s been pretty exhausting! (And I don’t even have to work full time, so yeah, gratitude for that!) Some of the change is only symbolic, as in donating clothing that I haven’t used in four years. But it’s all significant…

In the song “Moondog,” I believe the Canadian singer, songwriter, musician and record producer Daniel Lanois explores our primal connectedness to the moon as part of the universe and all life in it.

Moon dogs are a visual phenomenon slightly less visible than sun dogs, as the former depend on the moon to create refracted light. But I suppose it could be argued that, in an existential sense, they are there all the time, whether we notice them or not. (Much like the old adage, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”)

“Moondog, I love you, love you so strong
And, moondog, I trust you, it’s been long

I trust you when it’s corporate bound
In facelessness I know your sound
Sweet water run where there was dust
I need to lift the weight I must

Better to feel that weight fall down
Better to feel that weight fall down

Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind
Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind

And, moondog, I lay my face down the night
My sleep not come, I hear your cries
In the omnipresence of the laughing gun
You reach me, moondog, you’re the one

Better to feel that weight fall down
Better to feel that weight fall down
Better to feel that weight fall down
Better to feel that weight fall down

Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind
Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind

Moondog, please send me a friend
A friend, moondog, please send

Looking for a place in the world
I used to have a place in the world
Better the heart in the whistling wind
Better the part deep from within
I feel you in these moon days
Messages in moon rays

Better to feel that weight fall down
Better to feel that weight fall down

Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind
Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind
Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind
Two ways of looking just as easy to be kind

Hey, moondog, yeah
Oh Moondog, oh moondog
Moondog, yeah
Oh Moondog, yeah”

(“Moondog,” by Daniel Lanois. Unofficial lyrics courtesy of Genius.com.)

Handing off inanimate objects can be easy — not always — though the acts of moving on from a meaningful phase of life or saying goodbye always seem to carry an air of finality. Change can be very challenging and can feel like loss.

This afternoon, while reading what I expected to be a routine email update from American author, professor, lecturer, researcher and speaker Brené Brown, I was drawn to her new website and, serendipitously, landed on a piece on her site called “The Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted.” (I recommend you go to brenebrown.com and use the search function to find it as I don’t want to infringe on her copyright terms.) I believe the piece could help those challenged by life and could feed resilience and perseverance. I think it’s kind of magical how life often hands us what we need, just when we need… if we are open to that.

In times of transition (and I cannot count how many I’ve been through in my personal and professional lives), I believe kindness and compassion are the most significant and essential elements. Those have been absent in many of the changes I’ve lived through, and I’m sure I didn’t always model these attributes as best as I might have, either.

When “Moondog” came on Apple Carplay autoplay last evening on the way home from errands, the line that stood out for me was “Two ways of looking / just as easy to be kind.” Indeed. That line influenced how I felt when interacting with the person who would distribute my suits and, later, when buying some food at a nearby market. It felt like, aside from the transactional nature of our relationships in those moments, we all recognized each other as fellow humans. It seemed we were all connected by kindness, something I think is always there as a possibility, just not always enfleshed into action. We all exist, sure, but we actually noticed each other, and made connections. It was a pretty good feeling, and I had a sense they felt the same. There can be opportunities like these everyday, even just meeting up with and smiling with a stranger on a sidewalk as we proceed on our journeys.

“Moondog” is the 15th of 18 tracks on Lanois’ fifth studio album, Here Is What Is (2007).

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And have a wonderful weekend.

Here’s the audio for the song from the Daniel Lanois YouTube topic channel:

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