Tomorrow, I'm going to the Green River Festival with my sister. Four years ago, I went reluctantly. I got there and heard this, "I wanna be ready. I wanna be ready. I wanna be ready when joy comes back to me." I was slowly opening to joy, embracing it, diving in sometimes, struggling other times, but that night I found myself ready, joyous, dancing.
Rani Arbo won't be at the music fest tomorrow, but I've been listening to them a lot lately. It's my canning music and my cleaning up the kitchen music, and if you were walking by, you'd see me dancing along with my kitchen chores.
And when "Crossing the Bar" comes on, I always think of Anne of Green Gables, Anne's House of Dreams, really, for Jim, the lighthouse keeper who "crosses the bar." I read the series again and again as a kid, and I'm sure I found it incredibly sad when I read about Anne's first baby, Joyce, dying, but when I read the books in 2009, in my spree of comfort reading when Kathleen was a newborn, I sobbed at the chapter when Joyce is born and dies. It rings true to me, from the platitudes people throw at you to the sting of the words of a friend who didn't know even though you know they would never have hurt you, to the day Anne smiles again, though there is something new in her smile that will always be there going forward.
And what I really love is that this isn't the last mention of Joyce. She is not mentioned much in the last few books in the series, but she is not forgotten. A little bit further along this road (though two children later, not six like Anne had) that feels about right too.
For summer reading, I recommend Anne of Green Gables or picking up a childhood favorite. For summer listening, try Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, Big Old Life or Some Bright Morning (or get Ranky Tanky for the kids—it's fun too).