Thank you, John Denver

B. Lorraine Smith
4 min readMay 20, 2017

When I was a kid I loved John Denver’s Seasons Suite. It was so melodic and fun to sing along with. I didn’t know anything about him as an artist — he was just a voice that came from the record player, like Barbara Streisand or Paul Simon.

Yet I felt like Denver was sending me a message. I couldn’t figure out exactly what it meant, but it resonated profoundly. Literally: profoundly, in the sense that I tucked it away deep inside for future reference.

And here I am in that future, where I recently found myself referencing (and when I say, “referencing” I might mean “singing out loud”) the lyrics from the Spring verse in the suite…

“Open up your mind and let the light shine in,
the earth has been reborn and life goes on”

… on a rainy afternoon walk that I had taken with the intent of clearing my worried head before getting back to a complex task.

Cherry blossoms on Roosevelt Island / B. Lorraine Smith (2017)

The cherry blossoms that greeted me by the thousands were each little lessons in calm. And context.

Context is no small thing here, (and I am not a particularly calm person, anyway). Even as I was rejoicing in the life bursting forth despite the dreary weather and mental burdens we all seem to lug around, I couldn’t help but wonder what the cherry trees might be telling us. Let’s skip their quibble about being pretty, non-native species planted neatly in a row for human recreation and hop right over to the party-pooping conversation about the devastating impacts humans are having on nature (including on ourselves, of course).

Denver surfaced in my head again and I found myself practically hollering into the rain:

“Do you care what’s happening around you?
Do your senses know the changes when they come?”

Oh boy, do I. And I don’t just mean hay fever. But just as on that gray rainy day those incredibly intricate, abundant blossoms pushed forward to complete their mission, I have a similar blossoming sense in my mind that lots of others — even humans — are doing the same. Nourishing this feeling among many other nutrients are two books I recently read that couldn’t be more different if they tried, yet they are most certainly singing from the same song sheet.

Love in a time of worm composting

The Importance Of Drawing A Tree

A Meditation on Algorithms

It Has To Be Felt

Which One Are You?

Tomato A, 2035

The Ministry of Saudade*

(De)construction Holiday: Visioning Possibilities for Pathways

I Had Two Dreams

Two Dreams in Fragments

B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at