I watched The Andy Griffith Show with my husband during our junior year of college. I remember sitting in my grandmother’s living room, and this show would come on that old TV, making it seem older than it was because the show was black and white in the early seasons. Anything that makes me nostalgic entices me.
Something that stuck with me from the show was a song the Darling family sang, which is a Dillards’ song: “There is a Time.” I can’t say it will always be one of my favorite songs, but I can say it’s a favorite song of my early twenties. It’s timeless and versatile. I also love a good banjo picking. This song has different meanings to me, and every few months I find a new way to understand it.
The song starts out, “There is a time for love and laughter/ the days will pass like summer storms/ the winter wind will follow after/ but there is love and love is warm.” It may be the nature references that allure me, and anything about love is just as magnetic.
As the winter winds grow stronger this year, I have to remind myself to take a break cold. It’s been a difficult year; I’ve lost people I used to love, I’ve discovered things about loved ones that makes it harder to love them, and I’ve stayed the same yet changed completely, like every year since high school ended.
One of my favorite lines is, “There is a time for us to wander/ when time is young and so are we/ the woods are greener over yonder/ the path is new the world is free.”
There are many times I wish for the inquisitive eyes of my childhood, and there are some times that I realize I still have them if I let myself forget about the coldness of the world. I hope I’ll always be a wanderer through life, but I’ve tried to stop myself from imagining how wonderful life could be in the future.
I think I wasted a good portion of my childhood dreaming of a future that never happened, and I wonder how many lasting memories I would’ve made if I lived in the moment and saw how green the woods were at that time.
This verse has hit home as of late, “There is a time when leaves are falling/ the woods are gray the paths are old/ the snow will come when geese are calling/ you need a fire against the cold.”
Often, I find myself thinking of the paths I can take now that I’m supposed to be an adult (which I’ve pondered whether any of us are ever adults or just children trapped in bodies that grow older). So many expectations imposed on me lower my mood, so I fight against them because I want to fight the seemingly inevitable mundaneness of adulthood.
I tell myself I can’t be happy being a jobless “housewife”, raising two puppies, and FINALLY starting to write again. How dare I be happy? I have to feel guilty and bad about myself to make up for living a life I want for now. But if I’m not happy now, when will I be? When I’m locked into spending most of my days working so I can make a paycheck? When the geese stop calling me a spoiled freeloader? When I stop fighting against the shackles of middle-class America and forget my dreams?
“So do your roaming in the springtime/ you’ll find your love and summer sun/ frost will come and bring a harvest/ and you can sleep when the day is done.”
If the only coldness in the world I had to worry about was the weather, then I’d be a joyful gal year-round. Sometimes it’s better to stay inside, keep warm how we know best, and let the world go on its icy tangent.
The song ends, “The path is new the world is free.”
This is where my deepest admiration of literature (songs are basically poems) stems from. With every different person there’s a different interpretation, even if they read the same sentence or line of poetry.
To me, today, I think this ending is a mantra to get us through the winters and rough times. It’s there to remind us that we should see every day as a new beginning, every path we take as a new experience, so we can feel like a ripe harvest each day.
The world isn’t free because we’ve put a price on almost everything. Love is free, as it should be; it’s free in the monetary sense and in the liberating one. The world is free in the way the sun rises everyday without pay, and the night comes unfailingly to remind us to rest. The rain gives our earth nutrients for free, which ultimately gives us life for free.
Yet nature doesn’t call us spoiled; despite us being ungrateful, it doesn’t call us murders or thieves for what we’re doing to it. It gave us life and still does, without asking for anything in return. It continues unwaveringly with its natural routine and lets us continue ours. That is love.
And when I think of the world like that, it does seem new and green. It brings me warmth.