Lyric of the Week: THE WALKING SONG
I’m gonna take a walk down by the river
A long steady walk along the river
The winter cold may be hard and bitter
But it’s not a factor I consider
I need to get the juices flowing
The best way is to get my legs going
Moving through time and space
With my inner rhythm keeping pace.
Up till now I’ve been feeling very silly
I’m from Jersey but I’m stuck here in Philly
My reception in this town has been very chilly
So I’ve spoken out against the place quite shrilly
That, combined with relocation stress
Was enough to make a man depressed
It was easier to hunker down at home
Than to go out and face this place alone.
But I’m tired of living life sedentary
Sitting all detached and solitary
This heretofore life was so pathetic
From now on just call me peripatetic
It’s time to stop this not-doing-just-talking
Time to get out and do the walking.
There was a time in the not too distant past
When I remained behind a self-imposed mask
Afraid I would be taken to task
Afraid that everybody would ask
What gives you the right to go there
You’re a nobody and you’re going nowhere
The world was a place where I was judged
So I just sat down and rarely budged.
Well I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines
Watching people cruise by on the skyline
Everyone but me seems to be moving
And staying stationary leads to losing
So I’m through with all the talking
I’m gonna get out and start walking.
So I’m gonna take my place right in the middle
‘Cause I’m through being insignificant and little
And the runners, bikers, bladers that surround me
Can alter their own path and go around me
I’m no longer just talking
Watch out for me ‘cause I’m walking.
©2016 The Hesh Inc.
I lived in Philadelphia for about two years, 1995-1997, while my significant other at the time began her formal medical studies. I did not have a good time of it while I was there; not only was I away from my beloved Jersey Shore (albeit a two-hour drive away, if I really needed to get back there), but I found that the city itself is a depressing place. This depression is both physical and emotional — physical because the actual city plan has the streets and sidewalks narrow, with buildings set closer to the street than they are in other large cities like New York, which I was used to; emotional because of all the usual urban ills (including a race-relations problem more pronounced than many other American cities) caused by too many people crowding into limited space. It didn't take too long before this depression got a big part of me, freezing any creativity in place and making it difficult to function. I found that walking along the trail abutting the nearest body of water, in my case Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River, in march-time pace, staved off most of these ill effects.
The song came to me all by itself on one of these walks. It was never recorded or performed, but it does deserve to be put in some sort of fixed form. It has an insistent 2/2 rhythm, analogous to my steady, unstoppable pace, and an ascending, four-chord motif that gets transmogrified into a 20-bar blues pattern. One of these days, I'll commit it to record, and it will be my gift to the City of Brotherly Love.