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  • Writer's pictureVicki Viall

What a Wonderful World!

After spending six months in lock-down, I spend a lot of time thinking. Even in the best of times, that can be a dangerous thing.

Still, quiet times of reflection are necessary to see where we've been, where we are, and were we have yet to go.

As a photographer, colors are important to me. Even though black and white photos can be absolutely stunning, nothing beats a well framed photo with vivid colors. Sunsets and sunrises are perfect examples. But, they are just that - examples.

When I think about the last six months, it seems my view, perhaps "our" view of the world is a bit less vivid. Maybe we can even say it is smudged a bit.

There are positives and negatives that I would like to point out.

First, after we were basically put in lock-down, it was noted frequently that the earth's atmosphere was healing itself with less human pollution going on.

Incredible, fantastic, wonderful, sensational, magnificent, phenomenal, admirable, astonishing, amazing, miraculous, and startling.

It gives us a great place from which to launch better measures and actions to protect this planet we call home.

Secondly, with all the anger, violence, even hatred, it definitely smudges the picture of this planet, our home.

And, that got me to thinking about our world.

While my mind was loose and on its own, two of my very favorite songs came to mind.

The first was made famous by the incomparable Louis Armstrong. You may guess the song, but hold on.

In life, we truly do head straight for what we focus on. Take driving, for example. While driving, if our focus is on the traffic and road ahead of us, we tend to keep the car going in that direction.

If our focus is on the rear-view mirror, we may stay straight on course, we may swerve a bit to one side or the other. More than likely, though, we are going to unconsciously, slow down a bit.

If our gaze wanders to the left or right, I am willing to bet you a plate of manicotti at Elizabeth's that the car is going to swerve in that same direction.

What I am trying to drive home is this: if we are to have goals, we must keep them in view and keep our focus on them.

So, with that in mind, have you ever really read the lyrics to "What a Wonderful World?"

Whether that was a yes or no, please take a moment and read them. Don't just run through them. Take your time and absorb them!

What a Wonderful World

Louis Armstrong Produced by Bob Thiele Album What a Wonderful World WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD LYRICS [Verse 1] I see trees of green, red roses too I see them bloom, for me and you And I think to myself What a wonderful world [Verse 2] I see skies of blue and clouds of white The bright blessed days, the dark sacred nights And I think to myself What a wonderful world [Bridge] The colors of the rainbow So pretty in the sky Are also on the faces Of people going by I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do They're really saying, I love you [Verse 3] I hear babies cry, I watch them grow They'll learn much more Than I'll ever know And I think to myself What a wonderful world Yes, I think to myself What a wonderful world

When one thinks of this song, there is only one person who comes to mind, and that IS Louis Armstrong. So, here for your listening pleasure, is one of his versions of this song: While searching for that song and version, I rediscovered an old "friend" who died FAR too young. You may not even know the name. Here's her story:

In 1963 in the Washington, DC area, a baby was born. She was named Eva Marie Cassidy. Not only was she blessed with the voice and face of an angel, when she played guitar, it was magical.

Don't be confused if you don't know the name. Her very short career was based around the DC area.

Even in a short three year period, she amassed quite a portfolio.

Sometime between when I was stationed at the Naval Reserve Center, in Fayetteville, Arkansas from 1991-1994, and the time I was stationed at NAS Dallas, Texas, someone among my friends introduced me to Eva's music.

Sadly, in 1993, the was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. Even with its removal and an aggressive battle with chemo, Eva succumbed to the disease in 1996.

One of her well known recorded songs was "What a Wonderful World." In fact, that was the last song she performed in public before her death.

Another of her well known songs was "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." And, in my honest opinion, even though the quality of the recording could be better, her version of that song is the best one ever recorded. When we get to the video, please also pay attention to her guitar playing. It is magical!

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high There's a land that i have heard of once in a lullaby Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday i'll wish upon a star And wake up where the clouds are far behind me Where troubles melt like lemon drops Way above the chimney tops that's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly Birds fly over the rainbow why then oh why can't i?

Someday i'll wish upon a star And wake up where the clouds are far behind me Where troubles melt like lemon drops Way above the chimney tops that's where (where) you'll (you'll) find me

Somewhere over the rainbow the bluebirds fly Birds fly over the rainbow why then oh why can't i? (Why oh why yeah yeah)

If bluebirds fly (if bluebirds fly) over the rainbow why, oh why can't i?

Written by: Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

While Judy Garland's version is the best known version - and deservedly so - there is also a version on by "Iz". If you don't know who IZ is, search Over the Rainbow and Iz. You will thank me.

Still, arguably, this version by Eva Cassidy is in a three-way contest with both Judy and Iz for best version.

Here is her version, and again, you WILL thank me for introducing you to this singer gone too young.

Now, I have shared two of my favorite songs which also happen to be two of the most positive songs I know.

They address the beauty of the world around us and the places to look for that beauty. The best place to search for that, however, is inside ourselves.

I hope today's blog has, if nothing else, brightened your day. I also hope you listen to more of Eva Cassidy AND Iz. YOU WILL THANK ME!

But, that's it for this week. As always, thank you for reading. Don't forget all the motivation and smiles and photos on our front page on our site.

Hope you have a sunny week and PLEASE stay safe and well.

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