Today’s the first day this year when the day will be longer than the night: the vernal equinox was yesterday at 5:32pm. It’s spring! Our crocus started coming up about a week ago, which feels early, but last year they came up the same week. I think we still had snow, then, and the warm spell we had earlier this week was a little deceiving.
In the yoga class I attended earlier this morning, Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” was played. It was timed beautifully, both with this first full spring day, and with the crescent lunge series – an asana sequence includes some powerful, heart-opening standing moves, as well as some spine lengtheners and lower-to-the ground hip stretches. It’s expansive, and though the order of poses doesn’t really echo the rebirth that spring seems to represent, the variety and flow does resonate with the ongoing cycle of seasons.
Back to Paul Simon’s song: I’ve loved this song for years, mostly because it (and all songs on its album) was played constantly at the summer camp I worked at, between high school and college. We had a great group of people working there, and the work was sometimes challenging but mostly very fun, so it was a remarkably joyful time for me. But the song also resonates because it’s just so playful, yet rich and life-affirming, in sound and in words. One part of the song, the acoustic bit near the start, just after the three lines sung by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, is a lot like spring: bright, lively, and building.
It’s a good thing that my body has memorized that pose sequence, because listening to the song gave me such a huge smile, and brought me back to that summer, that I momentarily broke focus.
It’s been awhile since my home yoga practice involved choosing a soundtrack, but I used to feel strongly that the music should not have words that I could understand, because I found it hard to disengage my mind from lyrics, and engage it instead to breathing and asana. I’d stick to nonvocal or foreign-vocal music. However, perhaps due to the frequency and added years of practice, lately, I’m more able to stay focused on breath, and let music fall to the background to simply provide rhythm and possibly inspire a smile or some relaxation, when needed.
“Diamonds…” is clearly an exception, probably among many, for me.