Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Wishing Tree

In my car, running errands, I often pass a house with a lovely Japanese maple in the front yard, decorated with little white lights and what look like tiny prayer flags.

After noticing this for several weeks and wondering what all the little tags are for, I decided it was time to get out of my car and walk over to find out.

A sign posted on the fence explains: 
The Wishing Tree. "The most fantastic, magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish." We believe something Magical happens when we wish in one place. Container #1 has pens and blank tags. Write out your Wishes, Prayers, Intentions, Hopes and Gratitudes.  Leave your tag in Container #2. In a few days, they will be on the tree! TOGETHER we can create great BEAUTY and bring KINDNESS to the world.

When I got in touch with the homeowners to ask permission to do this blog post, I found out that they were inspired by another Wishing Tree that they discovered while on a walk in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. They were so touched by the idea that they decided to do something similar. Judging from the number of tags hanging from the branches, this Wishing Tree has meaning for many people. As one of the homeowners said in an email:
"Some of the wishes are just heart breaking :( ... And some are so beautiful and heart warming. I'm glad there is a place people can leave all their hopes and dreams and thoughts and prayers."
Here area few of the Wishes I found there.
"God take care of my Brother. Amen."  "I wish to find peace with my past regrets."  "I wish my daughter's brain condition would get better."  "Please may there be peace in Syria."  "I wish my husband can find a job where he can be happy and successful." "I wish for the growing baby in my belly (10 weeks) to be happy and healthy." And in what appears to be a child's handwriting,  "I want a unicorn. Thank you."
If you happened one day to come upon a Wishing Tree in your neighborhood, what would YOU wish for?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The OUTLANDER Theme Song

I can't imagine a composer more suited to creating the score for the Outlander TV series than Bear McCreary. Growing up, he attended the Scottish Highland Games held every summer in his home town of Bellingham, Washington. He was particularly captivated by the music. He describes the experience on his blog:
"First hearing the rolling and relentless Bb drone of the bagpipe bands get louder as we parked the car and headed towards the grounds gave me the euphoria that most little kids probably feel going to Disneyland."
Before he even graduated from high school, he was researching songs from the time of the 1745 Jacobite Rising in Scotland, about which he says,
"I was awestruck by the ability of these songs to communicate hidden meaning, tales of tragedy and triumph, with deceptively simple melodic lines and evocative harmonic progressions." 
Years later, when producer Ron Moore needed a composer to do the score for the Outlander TV series, McCreary was the perfect fit.

His decision to adapt the Scottish folk tune, The Skye Boat Song, to make it the theme song for the series is brilliant. Originally written to tell the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's escape to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at Culloden, the song connects with the historical events familiar to readers of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books.

For the theme song, Bear has taken this well known melody, slowed the tempo, and changed the lyrics to make it a song about Claire Randall, "the lass that is gone." It is haunting and beautiful and unmistakably Scottish.

So that you can hear and compare the two versions of the song, scroll down and have a listen.

This is the original Skye Boat Song, complete with lyrics, performed by The Corries.

The original lyrics were rewritten by Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish noveliest, poet, and travel writer(thank you to reader, Jane Warren, for this information), and adapted further by Bear McCreary to fit the Outlander story. Watch the opening credits for Outlander, to hear this version of the lyrics. (And look for the little blue flowers at the base of the stones in the closing frames.)
Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,
Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye. 
Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
Mountains of rain and sun,
All that was good, all that was fair,
All that was me is gone.

Repeat chorus 
Give me again all that was there,
Give me the sun that shone,
Give me the eyes, give me the soul
Give me the lass that's gone. 
Repeat chorus
Here's the full length song, performed at Spreckels Theater in San Diego, before the world premiere of the first episode of Outlander. Raya Yarbrough is the singer, Bear McCreary is playing the accordion and Paul Cartwright, the violin.


Can't get enough of all things Outlander? Be sure to visit my blog The Outlander Plant Guide

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Gaelic Blessing

This fun little song was part of my community choir's 30th Anniversary concert. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed singing it!

A Gaelic Blessing

by Daniel Gawthrop