Saturday, December 25, 2021

River Reverie Redux

The coffee shop isn’t very busy for this time of day.

A couple of the regular Wi-Fiers are by the window, hunched over their laptops, talking jargon and typing between sips of java. A young woman sits in the corner, reading the newspaper and nibbling on a pastry. The music, drifting down from invisible speakers, is just some sparse piano chords… and Joni Mitchell’s voice is heard…

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace…


A different kind of holiday music, to be sure, a sad song…

I wish I had a river
I could skate away on…
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby cry…


Sometimes a good thing doesn’t last.
I think about an old love and how I ruined it.
I just couldn't let myself go and surrender to her…

He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on


The woman puts down her paper.
The regulars stop talking.
The background noise in the shop stops and Joni’s lyrics are now quite distinct:

I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had…


Is the woman with the paper thinking of a love that she had and then lost?
Are the net-workers in a similar mood, thinking of what might have been?

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I made my baby say goodbye...


I made my baby say goodbye.
She's done alright for herself since then.
I guess I have too.
Why does my mind bring up these old memories, and for what purpose?

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on…


The song ends and the woman resumes her reading.

The sound of the laptop keyboards resumes.

I get up and walk out the door.




Revised re-post from FITK, November 22, 2005

By Professor Batty



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