Mine is the sunlight,

Mine is the morning,

born of the one light

Eden saw play.”

— “Morning Has Broken”

I so missed all those years Cat Stevens was not performing. He is one of my all-time favorite performers. I’m so glad he came back and took up his music again a few years ago.

Today, I stumbled upon the video of his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being introduced by the second of my two favorites, Art Garfunkel.

In the early ’70s when Stevens came out with “Moon Shadow” (I was living in California), I used to sing it while kicking up moonlit phosphorous waves in the surf of a secluded cove on the coast where my friends and I used to camp overnight back when it was safe to do so. Of course, with the men of the party all carrying off-duty, it was pretty safe anyway.

My favorite song recorded by Stevens, “Morning Has Broken” is a pure hymn. The words were written by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931 to a traditional Scottish tune. Indeed, I was teaching a class in “Music, Art and Literature” to my women’s church group in the early ’70s and chose, for one week’s lesson, David’s Psalms. I played “Morning Has Broken” (music/literature) with the album cover showing a photo of the long-haired, bearded singer on display beside a white, marbelized statue I have of Michelangelo’s naked “David,” one of the greatest pieces ever (of art and David).

I full well knew that a lot of the older, straight-laced ladies wouldn’t know what to make of a rock and roller and a naked statue of a man being used in a church lesson. There was a lot of squirming but no one could think of how to deny they were legitimate examples of art, literature and music. (Yeah, I had fun with it.)

Then, after I came back home to Maine and my daughter was of age to be baptized (8), I arranged to have the ceremony done at a small, secluded pond (rather than in a building) — no signs of man — here in the county. It was early morning as the cars wound down through the forest with rain coming down in buckets.

The moment we got to the pond, the rain stopped as if it were a giant spigot turned off and the sun broke through and shone down JUST on that spot in the forest and beach by the water’s edge. The dripping leaves sparkled with diamond drops. It was as if everything had been scrubbed clean and shining just for us. My daughter-in-law, with the voice of an angel, sang “Morning Has Broken,” accompanied by a young church lady on guitar. A magical time.

This time of slow-down that has been forced upon us has some silver linings, like time to remember special times as I sit here in my office looking out over the quiet forest. It’s stripped away some of the superfluous, bringing our days down more to the brass tacks of life. It’s created time-spaces we used to fill from waking up to crawling into bed with activity. Time we can use to reflect, to remember, to even get to know ourselves a little better. Time to take up some of our old hobbies or learn a new skill. Time to spend more close-time with our families. Maybe time to start a journal of memories, to put down adventures from your life. Your children and grandchildren might enjoy reading about when you were young. (Many just see us as we are now, never suspecting we were once young folk, too.)

You might even enjoy playing the new internet sensation, a word game called “Wordle” developed by a bored engineer spending a lot of unexpected time at home. He created it for his wife, a word game aficionado. It escaped into the world wide web and has spread like wildfire. I tried it. After all, word games are touted as a way to keep your mind sharp, to keep dementia at bay.

Like I said, I tried it.

I think I’ll dig out my knitting needles instead.

Below is the link to the best rendition of “Morning Has Broken” that has the text correct. It really is a hymn. Each new sunrise, the same sun Adam watched rise, brings each and every one of us a brand new “creation of a new day.” It’s ours to use. (youtube.com/watch?v=e0TInLOJuUM)

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools. She now lives in Morrill.

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