Yesterday, November 8th, was Joni Mitchell’s 75th birthday, an occasion celebrated by friends and well-wishers at a concert in L.A. The iconoclastic Canadian singer-songwriter did not perform, gone mostly silent since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015. Yet throughout her legendary career, Ms. Mitchell penned words and sang notes that spoke to the human condition like few before or since.
In one of her most acclaimed songs, Both Sides Now, she sang how she’d “looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow, it’s cloud’s illusions, I recall, I really don’t know clouds at all.”
While clouds were Mitchell’s metaphor for both life and love, she was equally perceptive with “something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day” as even in acquiring experience we lose time in the exchange.
Yet if the ethereal Ms. Mitchell is to be fully appreciated, it is in the realization that only those who have the capacity to see both sides, who can stand, at times only fleetingly, in the shoes of another, who may one day comprehend their own illusions as carefully constructed mechanisms meant to help navigate the great yawning maw that confronts each of us everyday.
It is only when we can see beyond our own narrow self-interest that can we come to grips with our humanity such that it might dovetail with the illusions of others, and thus acknowledge life as a pitching current in which we all move inexorably to the see (sic). Continue reading “JONI MITCHELL AT 75”