A Day Once Dawned

And the air was beautiful

I first heard From The Morning while sitting in a pub near Portobello Market in London. When I say "first", I mean I'd heard it many, many times before without actually hearing it. 

But for the first time on that day, I was sitting in the kind of pub where they play what they want because that's what you do. "From The Morning" finally revealed itself.

A day once dawned from the ground

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The track will never leave us, it's one of the great masterworks. A few pop gems are little Mona Lisas, like "I Only Have Eyes For You" by the Flamingoes. We appreciate them. 

But "From The Morning" by Nick Drake is the type of track which might just save your life, as it did mine. The groove, the sound, gently and truthfully painting your life into a sunrise, performed by one person in one take:

Then the night she fell

My 31st year was marked by several transformations, new ascents and falls which drastically expanded my view of the world and of the people in it. Sitting at this pub on that particular day, for me, happened to be a hanging-on-for-dear-life, hoping-against-hope, trying-not-to-miss-anything moment. 

So look see the days

Some days I look at the sky and tears burst right out my face. It's just too big up there, my ego can't handle it. I want to feel so important, but it's impossible with that sky above us all the time. I held onto the bench thinking I might blow away, scatter like dust. 

All questions and no answers, but Nick's quiet effortlessness brought me right into the present, offering direction if I could only stop spinning long enough to hear it. 

And now we rise

I'd launched myself into love again with no regard for common sense or postwar planning. Which some say is how you should always do, nothing else will bring you more alive. But I don't want to describe what happened that winter. Many losses of heart, money and dignity. 

I looked down at worn grains in the carved-up table, cradling a pint as if it were my pint-sized baby self and reckoned with the untenableness of my situation. 

So look see the sights
The endless summer nights
And go play the game that you learnt
From the morning

Nick Drake died at 26. I'm much less young now, but every time I hear him I listen a little harder. Maybe for advice. Did I miss something last time? Sometimes you're only ready for so much, but I remember the color of the October London sun that day. I remember briefly finding myself inside this track. 

Part of me is still sitting at that gnarly table trying to figure things out, learning to fully enjoy the beautiful moments. Because sometimes that's all you get.

Trevor ExterComment
Secret Heart, What Are You Made Of?

I had heard Ron Sexmith a lot, considered myself a fan, but the version of this song which etched itself into my brain is that of Feist.  She killed this tune on TV, everyone took notice and I, like usual, was late to the party.  

Could it be three simple words, or the fear of being overheard? 

Video by Razor Productions

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I'm the guy with the secret heart, but only to myself.  Nobody ever has to tell me to get a grip, for my grip is chronic.

Secret heart, why so mysterious?  Why so sacred, why so serious?

So yeah, I'd heard Ron sing this song many times.  Loved it.  But a woman's voice changes the whole thing around.  Now she's my mom, my girlfriend, my sister my aunt and my grandma all together.  Very encouraging: Come on, you better do it, Trev!  You gotta loosen up and cry or dance or laugh or whatever.   "Oh come on, just let it out you'll feel better."

Easy for you to say!  Call it fear, pride or whatever your flavor of resistance: it's rarely voluntary.

The very secret that you're trying to conceal
Is the very same one that you're dying to reveal.

It's not supposed to be hard to express ourselves, but somehow we've made it so.  Men, we take a few knocks and decide we'll keep it all inside for now.  

But there is only right now, always.  

You can't bury your truth inside and let it fester.  I've learned that I have to reveal it, but it doesn't come out by itself.

Go tell her how you feel!

How different would my life be if I'd summoned certain courage in certain moments, in the face of certain unexpected opportunities, or at least when certain kisses were being dangled just that once?  

Could it have something to do with admitting that you just can't go through it alone?

Merciless in its truth, this song is like a self-help book.  It's The Art of Loving, When Things Fall Apart, The Artist's Way and Dale Carnegie all rolled up together.  Encouraging you to summon the guts to connect more truthfully than you think possible, and telling you to do it now.  

I need this song every day.  

Thank you Ron Sexmith.


Trevor ExterComment