FIRE AND RAIN
In March 1971 I was 27, finishing the portion of my teaching career that was in Canada and getting ready to fly to Australia from Canadaóto teach primary school in Whyalla South Australia. A picture of the American singer-songwriter and guitarist, James Taylor, appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in the first week of March as my last winter in Canada was ending. I had listened to Taylorís music as early as 1970, if not before in 1969, on my release from a psychiatric hospital in Ontario. Taylorís major breakthrough was in February 1970 with the #3 single Fire and Rain and the following year his Youíve Got a Friend got to #1. This latter song was on the album Mud Slide Slim released in April 1971, an album I bought whilel iving in Gawler South Australia and teaching in that stateís first open plan high school.
Taylorís song Fire and Rain had an enormous impact on me in the early 1970s. It was a song about Taylorís time in a psychiatric institution and his troubles with depression in the mid-to-late sixties. By 1965 I knew what depression was like. I was 19 in 1965 and depression has been with me off and on as part of my bipolar disorder(BPD) for nearly 50 years, from 1963 to 2010.
I saw James Taylor, now 62, being interviewed on The 7:30 Report on ABC TV here in Tasmania this evening.1 I had not followed the life and career, the music and the fame, of James Taylor since he married Carly Simon in November 1972. By that time I had become fully occupied with my first marriage, my career in teaching, my new life in Australia and my BahŠ’Ū community work. In 1974 I entered a relationship with a woman with two children and I never bought a record album again. Albums became more expensive and they had to take a back-seat in my life of self-indulgence. Life took a new direction for me and James Taylorís career slipped far out onto the periphery of my life. When I saw him being interviewed tonight, I was very moved and so wrote this prose-poem.-Ron Price, Memoirs: Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 31 March 2010.
Yes, James, life has been much
of that Fire and Rain as you put
it way back then at the start of the
long trip that was our lives some
40 years ago. Youíve done so well
and I havenít done so bad either….
Iíve seen fire and Iíve seen rain;
Iíve seen sunny days that I thought
would never end. Iíve seen lonely
times when I could not find a friend.(1)
Did Jesus look down upon you as you
said in that song? BahŠ‘u’llŠh looked
down on me: have you heard of Him,
James? Itís cross-cultural messianism,
James, and for all of humanity. Itís a
game for Everyone to play as humanity
goes global institutionally, James. It was
good to see you again tonight, James, and
it nearly made me cry and me a grown man
and after all these years: ďgood on yer,Ē as
they say Downunder, ďJames!Ē Goodonyer!
(1) words from the opening stanza of the song Fire and Rain on side 2 of the album Sweet Baby James
31 March 2010
PS…....this is the 2nd and final edition of the above prose-poem.
It was finalized on 1 April 2010: April Foolís Day!