There is grace in a cold, peaceful morning. When the dome of the sky wears the sunrise as a ring of promise — the promise that hours will pass and joy will be found somewhere in the midst of them. I stand at the bank of windows at the back of my house and count the sparrows at the feeder and try to take inventory of every leaf that changed color over night. November has finally come. There is one song that stands to the beauty of that morning. The words of Rose Hip November fill me to overflowing and I sing. Vashti’s voice, made of the stuff of earth, sings over me.
If you’ve never heard Vashti Bunyan I can’t wait for you to have your first experience of her. Some might describe her tender soprano as ethereal or angelic, but that does not do her justice. Think of the tinkling of an ice cold stream tumbling over smoothed rocks. Think of wind sweeping water droplets off lush green leaves. Think of a hummingbird finally coming to rest on a delicate branch, hunger satiated for a moment. Those things are Vashti’s voice to me.
Her particular brand of folk music is traditional in theme, but unique in performance, using the standard guitar picking and fiddles/strings, but also organ, horns, and glockenspiel. The arrangements are anything but sparse and her voice glides over top of rich instrumentation to create peace-filled music. Her song “Rose Hip November,” from the album Just Another Diamond Day,beautifully exemplifies this magical combination. Vashti’s words paint pastoral landscapes for her hearers and each instrument lays a jewel-tone thread in an expertly woven tapestry. Listening is like pulling layers of soft blankets up to your chin on an icy morning. You will discover something new upon each listen and you will be better for it.
Whether you are mourning the passing of warm weather, or you live the whole year waiting for fall, you will surely appreciate this graceful autumnal anthem. Give “Rose Hip November” a listen, perhaps while you wander a golden forest. Watch for falling leaves, and remember,
“Catch one leaf, and fortune will surround you evermore…”
(Song recommendation by Sarah M. Lillard)