Last year, I offered up in this space on New Year’s morning a gift from the gods as they manifested (and continue to resound) through Ludwig van Beethoven and his “Ode to Joy.” And if there’s one bit of wisdom I’ve been able to accrue from my thrashings and bumblings about on Mother Earth over this now long-ish life, it is never to allow a good time or idea to go slinking off by itself into the dusky past.
Instead, just slap a “Hey, what a lovely ritual!” or “But it’s a tradition!” tag on it so we have an excuse to celebrate the wonderful again…and again.
So: Another New Year’s gift, slow forwarded a few hundred years from Beethoven to one of our own epoch’s musical geniuses, Eric Clapton, picking and singing his way through a tender song with the help of a few cherished friends.
Sometimes the trappings of fame and the tragedies of loss manage to sink the most stout talents in this life. Given all his travails, Clapton might well have become a poster boy for how it can all go bad.
He battled alcohol and heroin addictions early in his life, fell prey to messy romantic entanglements, lost his manager and his musician pal Stevie Ray Vaughn to a helicopter accident in 1990, and then, far more horribly a year later, his 4-year-old son Conor to a fall out of a New York City hotel window.
But whether one cites the mysteries of grace, the turn of the karmic wheel, some steely inner resolve or all of the above, Clapton pulled through all those ordeals to continue making beautiful music that gladdens the hearts of millions. Let us be glad for him in turn, and for the unbidden rainbows he sings of here that continue to beckon and reward us for simply being alive.
Happy New Year!
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Deep appreciation to the photographers! Unless otherwise stated, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing.
Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos (except for the books) grace the rotating banner at top of page.
Library books photo by Larry Rose, all rights reserved, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Small rainbow photo by Robert Couse-Baker, Sacramento, California, https://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/
Flowers by Steven Lilley, Halifax, UK, https://www.flickr.com/photos/sk8geek/