During the European middle ages, science, religion and alchemy all seemed to exist on about the same plane. A pervasive intellectual funk settled upon the land. A Dark Ages world filled with crazy notions, superstitious beliefs and cruelty.
(In our present age, there are still demonstrations of medieval behavior and thought—even in the U.S. Congress—but that is a different subject.)
When I read a review of William Manchester’s “World Lit Only By Fire” I knew that it was a must-read for me: Civilization snatched from the brink of collapse by poets, thinkers, explorers and enlightened souls. And great description of what took place during the darkest centuries.
Two songs of mine are especially pertinent for this era.
The first, “World Lit Only By Fire” was inspired by Manchester’s book of the same title.
The second song, “Waiting for the Renaissance,” was written prior to the book’s publication and may have evolved from my own frustration with a society that is yet too filled with narrow minds.
All day at the office he dreamed about getting home, changing clothes and mowing the lawn. The smell of fresh cut grass. The feeling of accomplishment that you could see with your own eyes.
His co-worker, Larry, asked him what he was going to do this evening after work.
“I’m going to mow, Larry,” he offered, with a gaze toward middle distance. “And what are you going to do, Larry?” Like he gave a shit.
““My Norway Maple tree is dropping helicopter seeds like crazy,” said Larry. “I’m going to clean the helicopters from my gutters.”
Our hero goes home and finds that he needs to go to the hardware store to pick up some village lawn stickers for tomorrow’s pickup.
“Hi, honey. What’s for dinner? I’m going to Ace then I’m going to mow.”
“I’m leaving the house for a pack of smokes and never coming back,” she joked.
But she was serious.
The next night he went to his kid’s game and spilled the beans to some other suburban dads about his wife not returning home. They went out to a sports bar for a beer and watched the game out of one eye while our hero told his story in more detail.
“I never even got to mow the grass.”
They ordered another round of Miller Lites. He would mow tomorrow. And get out the leaf blower afterward. Then water everything real good.
(song from a live performance by Under The Kitchen. 4-14-07)