Meaningful moments can be fleeting. Spending the day with a friend, a partner or a family member can be routine, maybe even mundane. Doing those things that need to do to get done, passing the time, and getting to the end of the day. These are the moments that make up our lives.
For a while to come, we will all likely be looking at these routine and mundane times differently. “Sheltering in place” due to the coronavirus likely means that families will be spending complete days with each other, every day, several days in a row. For many of us, this is a new reality.
Being told to stay at home, for some, is a problem. We want to go out, we want to be with others, we want to experience the world. For others, staying at home is an opportunity to enjoy being with others, to reflect by ourselves, or to embrace the quiet and the still.
I have worked from home for many years, but my wife is now working from home as well, just down the hall. I can’t speak for her, but for me this has worked out very well. We both do our own thing. She is on her calls, and I am on mine. Our paths cross throughout the day, but we are otherwise working. I can hear her as she works. I’m sure she can hear me.
I find myself thinking often about the wonderful Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song “Our House” a lot. Spending so much time in the house. Finding meaning and happiness in a smile as we pass each other in the hallway. Keenly aware that we are just down the hall from each other.
Graham Nash wrote “Our House” after spending a day with Joni Mitchell, his girlfriend at the time. The were living the Los Angeles neighborhood of Laurel Canyon, home to many great singer songwriters of the time. They had been out having breakfast and shopping. It was a cool rainy day. Nash captured the moment. A routine moment during what was probably a routine day.
“I’ll light the fire
You put the flowers in the vase that you bought today”
The song begins simply enough. Single piano chords, Nash’s sweet, almost falsetto voice, sings quietly. The song then moves into waltz time, accented by light taps on the cymbal in a syncopated rhythm. We can’t help but to smile.
“Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you
Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me.”
A vivid portrait is painted of these two young hippies, spending the day in their warm house a cold day. The song is credited to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSN&Y), but this song is all Graham Nash. He wrote the song, and he sings the song. David Crosby and Stephen Stills sing harmonies, and Neil Young does not appear on the song at all. Although the group was called Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Neil Young was a temporary, part-time member at best with a robust solo career of his own. Not CSN&Y, not even really CS&N. This is mostly just N.
Nash was reportedly bored with this song as soon as he recorded it, but its bucolic portrait of a Bohemian couple has been a classic rock favorite ever since it was released in 1970.
“Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy ’cause of you
And our la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la”
Yeah, ok. It’s kind of an innocent, silly song, but I think it’s an important song to be reminded of at this moment in time. Spending time at home, regardless of the reason, can be a good thing. Being with alone, or being people who we love.
Be safe. At home.
“Come to me now and rest your head for just five minutes,
Everything is good
Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated by the
Sunshine through them, fiery gems for you, only for you”
IMPORTANT NOTE: My daughters, whom I love very much, are grown and out of the house. If they were younger, and living at home, I am sure this would be a completely different blog post, and I may very well be talking about this song instead.
Written by Graham Nash
Performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Released September 1970