A song from the past

The photo came with the article written by Benjamin Pimentel in the Philippine Daily Inquirer

I was supposed to write about other things today, but a friend’s article published in the website of a major daily prompted me to set those other things aside for this memory.

The article was about “An achingly beautiful song called ‘Both Sides Now’” and I had to drop everything to read it, share on my Facebook page and post on my blog. 

I first heard the song decades ago, but really got to appreciate it when one of my high school teachers required her students to commit the lyrics to memory and ponder the song’s meanings. That was about 43 years ago. I understood what she meant the first time, but didn’t really apply it as a philosophy then. In our younger, headstrong days, we felt we were always right and never gave in to opposing views.

I realize that only when you’ve logged some decades and gone through life’s best and worst experiences can you really say you could look at life from another point of view, even the point of view of an enemy or an opponent and be magnanimous and compassionate. It’s still hard to do that some days.

Anyway, my friend, the writer Benjamin Pimentel writes: 

“Both Sides Now” captures the essence of what a life journey is about, the sense of wonder and uncertainty, the unexpected twists and turns — the joys, the loves, the triumphs, as well as the sadness, the failures, the pain. But in a way, it also affirms life and celebrates the journey. At least, that’s how I choose to see it. The song does not mention those words or those emotions which one would expect or hope to find in life-affirming tunes. But on a deeper level, that’s what “Both Sides Now” is about for me.

It’s about journey.”

Proof that the song is beloved, endearing, and universal is that it has so far been recorded by close to 1,500 other artists, according to singer-composer Joni Mitchell’s website. The Osmond Brothers recorded the song, as did Josh Groban and many others. Included in the list are the Philippines’ own Sharon Cuneta, and the Greek singer Nana Mouskouri whose angelic rendition of the song I adore.

Anyway, going back to that high school class many years ago, I actually have forgotten what the subject was. It probably had to do with Family Life or something like that. I remember that class and that teacher very clearly, and not really in a positive light (and that’s a different story). But I knew then that the song had philosophical and psychological meanings. It has since become a sort of anthem that I return to, a reminder of how to deal with life’s ups and downs. ###

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