Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November Blog #23: "A Golden Hill of My Own"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 23): Write about a piece of music that changed your life. What do you feel when you hear it now?

Music in general has pretty much shaped most of my life, but if I had to pick a piece that has technically “changed” my life, I would have to probably pick Bron-Yr-Aur by Led Zeppelin.  It was this timelessly wordless acoustic piece of music that my husband and I walked down the aisle to in 2007---well, we walked out of the chicken coup to it, anyway, and through the yard to stand between two trees to take the vows that would make us husband and wife.  It seemed the best piece of music to back our stroll down the marital lane.  Its notes played us into the beginning of our married life together, the final strum starting the ceremony.  

I think that describing this song with words would be easier than describing what I feel when I listen to this song.  The feeling brought on by this song has changed in me over time, but through the course of the “relationship” I have with it, it has symbolized perhaps the intricacies of life and the domino effect of consequence…pieces falling into place…the fragility of the balance maintained throughout life…the road of destiny.  It was a piece that mimicked the flow of life to me, perhaps, picked out in perfect time by one of the greatest guitarists (IMHO). The winding down at the end nudges you into the beautiful unexpected and that last strum seems to symbolize the start of something, or maybe the end of something, or even both.   

During the height of my stress especially, during times I was sure that I was lost and on a road to nowhere and I needed to gather myself, I would sit in front of my computer, and unwind by listening to mp3’s.  I had collected the Led Zeppelin discography song by song during my “spare” time in college.  I find that when times are stressful I start collecting and organizing my music library, like a mad woman collecting things for her home, a loony bird crafting its musical nest.  Many a time, I sat with eyes closed listening to Bron-Yr-Aur at my computer, Nag Champa burning away.  The song gave me hope.  Not to mention I respected its simplistic complexity as a guitar dabbler.  I could die happy if I could ever play, let alone a compose something like that.  

Bron-Yr-Aur, Photo from Wikipedia
Bron-Yr-Aur, which is Welsh for "golden hill", "breast of the gold" or "hill of the gold", is the name of a cabin in which Robert Plant and Jimmy Page stayed for a time in 1970 and wrote Bron-Yr-Aur as well as some other songs included on Led Zeppelin III.  (Bron-Yr-Aur is actually on the Physical Graffiti album).  This was a cabin Plant’s family used for holidays, it was without electricity and running water and is the place Page says he first got to really know Plant one on one.  Plant also allegedly claims Jimmy Page’s daughter Scarlet was conceived minutes after writing That’s the Way.  Interesting side notes. 

I always felt that Bron-Yr-Aur seemed like such a lovely place to go; its soundtrack seemed so amazing and timeless.  Although I have never been to Bron-Yr-Aur, a part of its tranquility reached me perhaps through the songs it inspired.  I have been changed by many songs, but this song has seen me through some hard times, and has played me into some great ones.  I would listen to it with my eyes closed and welling up; marveling at the beauty of fingers on strings, notes that left me dreaming of my future and hopeful that I one day too would fall into place.

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