Blue Boat Home

I mentioned in passing that I’m learning a new song – “Blue Boat Home” by Peter Mayer – for my singing lessons. I love the song, it’s probably one of my favorite Unitariany songs, though admittedly the version I’m familiar with is Priscilla Herdman‘s cello-heavy arrangement. To help me learn to sing more expressively, my teacher asked me to remember the song is poetry, and to “write a music video” that I could imagine while singing. I may have taken him more seriously than he intended, to the detriment of my practicing, I don’t know…

Though below me I feel no motion
Open on feet in women’s hiking shoes firmly planted on dry, dusty rock, dawn light breaking over them
Standing on these mountains and plains
Camera pulls away past the feet, first rushing over the ground showing its texture, and then quickly glides IMAX style over a cliff, soaring over a rainforest and then out to rolling plains
Far away from the rolling ocean
Finally it gets to the ocean, choppy waves topped with white, and flies in close – that sort of IMAX shot that makes you feel like the waves are going to get you wet
Still my dry land heart can say
Camera plunges into the water and as the swirling bubbles dissipate, starry space is revealed instead of an underwater scene

“I’ve been sailing, all my life now
Camera turns slowly, taking in the stars, turns past the milky way and past the ISS, really reveling in the vastness of everything out there
never harbor or port have I known
sun sets around the curve of the earth, as the human network of lights come on
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
the camera holds over the twinkling shapes of the Earth’s continents, slowly pulls back
and the Earth is my blue boat home.”
and shows the rising earth over the moon’s surface

Sun my sail, and moon my rudder
Cut to IMAX flight over ocean again, this time at night and with calmer water, comes to a small ship in the starlight
As I ply the starry sea
camera zooms up to someone on a ship taking readings through a sextant, chart etc at hand; next to him a young woman leaning over the side trailing her hands in the water and enjoying the spray
Leaning over the edge in wonder
sudden spray of water forms the screen transition to revealing the VLA dishes tilting slowly in the night
Casting questions into the deep
we see the flickering of a campfire lighting the foreground faintly
Drifting here with my ship’s companions
Camera turns to reveal a campfire with shadowy humans sitting around it sharing a meal, watches them from enough distance that we feel very apart from them, observers, but recognize they are us, humans doing human things
All we kindred pilgrim souls
We notice we’re not in NM anymore but at Stonehenge, camera pans up to the sky, showing the full majesty of the milky way, but we still see the silhouettes of Stonehenge holding us down
Making our way by the lights of the heavens
Cut to time lapses of sun and moon rising over archaeoastronomical sites like Chaco Canyon, Chichen Itza – focus on early human attention to the stars
In our beautiful blue boat home

I give thanks to the waves upholding me,
Dawn breaks over the waves, the wind picks up, and the IMAX effect makes us feel like the wind is in our hair; we come upon a lone ship sailing fast over the waves, the dawn turning her sails pink as they snap in the wind
Hail the great winds urging me on
cut to show the wake along the side of the boat and then the camera glides on from watching the wake to a wind-whipped seaman looking ahead of the boat
Greet the infinite sea before me,
where dawn is breaking
Sing the sky my sailors’ song
Highlights majestic colors in the dawn clouds, a few last stars shining at the edges
“I was born upon the fathoms
Camera moves to show the stars beyond the dawn sky, the sky coloring fading as it moves up through the atmosphere
Never harbor or port have I known
More and more stars are visible, brighter planets twinkle, until it’s just falling into black space
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
Camera looks around slowly at all the stars and eventually turns back to show the Earth centered in the vast starfield.
And the Earth is my blue boat home.”

In writing this I’ve realized that my “music video”s pacing is pretty different than that of the other recordings I know, which is cool. Also I’m pretty sure this would be a really boring music video in practice, and it’s a good thing I stay away from making motion pieces. :P I’m not even sure I’ll be able to remember three verses of visuals while trying to focus on all the other singing things I’m working on, but at least hopefully the imagery will pop up in my mind now and then.

In closing:



3 Responses to “Blue Boat Home”

  1. Angus Rockett
    | Reply

    That is really awesome. Love the images. Hope someone will make this for you some day. I think it could be really great.

  2. Ariana
    | Reply

    I’m with your dad on this one!!

  3. ellen
    | Reply

    Awww, thanks guys! :)

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