(17) “Catch the Wind” Deception

Have you ever seen this ad?

It is so sweet, right?  The boy catches the wind for his grandpa as a birthday present. The lovely tone of Donovan singing in the background, creating a deeply loving relationship between the boy and his family.  Perfection, right?

Well, wrong.

I was never a huge follower of Donovan.  I mostly knew his hits — “Sunshine Superman,” “Mellow Yellow,” and “Jennifer Juniper.”  He was always a little “out there,” full flower child, and well-noted for getting busted with the Beatles for possession of pot.

One day a couple of years ago, I downloaded a selection of his music.  I didn’t include his hits as much as search for some new things I might have missed, or that weren’t huge hits.  I downloaded “I Love My Shirt,” “Colours,” and, of course, the softhearted “Catch the Wind.”

Then last summer I was putting together six hour playlists for our trip.  I wanted the music to reflect our travels. (I create the lists in six hour increments because that is the max time we can spend in the Prius before we get ridiculously uncomfortable.)  I added “Catch the Wind” because it made me feel like our trip was something magical and wonderful — which it was.

So, we’re driving in north Florida, heading down a two lane road through a whole selection of small towns along Route 27, farm country.  “Catch the Wind” comes on as I gaze at bouncy white Florida clouds landscaped with rows of corn and fields of cows. I don’t really know the words, as I haven’t gotten to know this song except for its obvious message of a love for all times.

To feel you all around me

And to take your hand along the sand…

Oh look, sheep!

When sundown pales the sky

I want to hide a while behind your smile

And everywhere I’d look your eyes I’d find

Oh, this song is so beautiful!

For me to love you now

Would be the sweetest thing, ‘twould make me sing

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

Wha? Huh?

I’m shocked!  Stunned! The sky suddenly doesn’t look as blue.  I thought this was a LOVE song?  It is a HOPELESS  love song. I continue to listen.  Does it get better?

When rain has hung the leaves with tears

I want you near to kill my fears

To help me to leave all my blues behind.

For standin’ in your heart

Is where I want to be and long to be

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

No. It gets no better.  In fact, it gets worse.  The lines about the fear killing and losing the blues and standin’ in your heart magnify a deep desire, a wholehearted devotedness.  He says “twould” for crying out loud! Why did Donovan do this?  Why did he create such a lovely melody only to have it be about unrequited affection?

Okay, okay, I know the answer.  It is what is called juxtaposition for ironic effect.

Still, I cannot help but wonder if I am the only one who has been fooled by the delightful melody, the nearly hushed and reverent tone?  I must say, I felt deceived deep inside when I realized that this is not one of the most beautiful love songs ever.  Instead, it is a cruel trick.

Much like unrequited love. 😦

In order to focus back on one of the five questions, I think this goes with being open to human nature.  We often mask our real intentions, and we certainly long for things we cannot have.  Donovan encapsulates that in this song, through words and melody and delivery.  Bottom line, of course, is that it is still a beautifully written and expressive lyric, even if I felt let down.

That is the irony of being alive.

*Lovely version of the song done here. Worth watching just to gaze at Crystal Gale’s long hair and Donovan’s hippie moon guitar.


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