Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Soundtrack of my Life: Rocky Mountain High

There are several songs that occupy special places in my mind for various reasons. Some remind me of friends or girlfriends past, some instantly whisk me off to a certain time in my life every time I hear them, some bring back memories of a particular moment or happening. There are some however that just sort of, for lack of a better term, "sum things up". One such song is "Rocky Mountain High" by the late John Denver.

I've heard the song since I was a kid but it never held any kind of meaning for me until I left for Europe back in 1998. The lyrics of the song are about a young man coming to the Rocky Mountains and being reborn by the beauty of what he encounters. I've always loved the song and used to listen to it often and then one day the meaning changed for me when I pondered the opening verse:

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
you might say he found the key to every door

It occurred to me that I was also in my 27th year when I came to Europe and, as I arrived in May, the summer of my 27th year was when it all changed for me. Although it's hard to explain, the second line - "coming home to a place he'd never been before" - also had personal meaning to me. My family are all French Canadians, I'd studied and tutored French in high school and college and had always wanted to see the land of my ancestors. The first time I went to France, it was a feeling of coming home even though I'd never been there.

What eventually dawned on me (I'm a little slow...) is that if you replace the Rocky Mountains with Europe, the song could almost describe my situation exactly. Like the man in the song, I had come to a different place in my 27th year and without even realizing it, was practically reborn into a new life, leaving my old one behind.

"Rocky Mountain High"...part of the soundtrack of my life.


Anonymous said...

You lucky bastard, no song can bring me home to Pennsyltucky.

eric said...

Still, it IS John Denver. Any Dead Kennedys on that list? Husker Du? Black Flag?