Logic, the Unconscious Mind, and Simon and Garfunkel

The other night while I was painting, I decided to listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. I had just picked it up for a sweet $2.99 and it had been a while since I gave the 60s troubadours a listen. Ever since, I have had “Hazy Shade of Winter,” stuck in my head for at least part of each day. In addition, being a child of the 80s, the Simon and Garfunkel version of this song gets swapped with parts from the Bangles (of “Walk Like an Egyptian,” and “Eternal Flame,” fame) cover of the song. This got me thinking about the seeming randomness of this process. From that album, “Hazy Shade of Winter,” does not make logical sense to be the one that sticks around after I listen to the whole album. “Cecilia,” is the most fun song to sing of theirs. “The Boxer,” and “America,” are, in my opinion, their best songs. “The Sounds of Silence,” is probably their most well-known, and “I am a Rock,” is the first song I remember knowing from them. So what gives?

Is it maybe because it is currently winter time? It has been pretty cloudy and gray outside. It does kind of seem like a hazy shade of winter. But, this doesn’t seem prominent enough in my mind for me to keep repeating the song over and over in my mind when I lay down to bed. To hear Paul Simon’s voice fade into the Bangles’ pounding electric guitar riffs, back into the Simon and Garfunkel harmonies and wondering why the Bangles left the last few lines of the bridge out of their version. Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that songs often get in our head for no logical reason. It’s not that I really mind this song that much, though I have spent many hours with an unwelcome song refusing to leave the soundtrack in my head. I’m just stumped by what this is trying to tell me. Is my unconscious mind sending me some kind of riddle that will reveal some deep truth buried at the bottom of myself? Do Simon, Garfunkel, and the Bangles hold the key to my happiness?

I went running today and wanted to do a long run, so I purposefully got myself lost in the windy circles of homes near Murray High School. I did a really good job. I passed multiple streets several times, thinking I was going in a completely different direction until realizing I had gone down that street earlier trying something similar. This accomplished my goal of getting in a long run.

When I felt assured by my sense of distance and my knees that I had ran what I was hoping to do, I walked a bit. Emerging next to the high school, on my way home, I looked up in the sky for the first time. It had been overcast all day, but this bit of walking gave me more time to pay attention. The overall gray sky was made that way by low gray clouds against a silvery sky farther back. I watched those low clouds creep past above me, and I felt so much more a part of this big, huge world. I thought about how looking up in the sky can completely change your perspective on a place. I wondered where that had come from, and if I even would have looked up if I hadn’t stopped running. How often do better things happen to me when I don’t plan them than when I think them out logically?

Every now and then, these things come to my five senses without plan. Sometimes I understand them more than others. On many days I find that logic gets me a long way. But, on many others, I find that my logic gives way to things I can’t figure out. Sometimes I just resolve that I may be stuck with an eternal mystery or something it’s just not time for me to know. The best of these, though, I feel like there’s something being said to me. And, even though I can’t articulate it and don’t know what it’s telling me to do, I’m going to stand still for a minute, watching and listening for anything I might want to remember later.


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