I received an email from one of my dearest friends this morning. In his usual way, he put a smile on my face and in my heart. He's a wonderfully gifted singer/songwriter who has been a great inspiration to me, and part of his email read:
"...Back to basics. I think I will write a song with only two chords and one verse? It will be called 'Simple."
As I read these lines, a song from my distant past immediately came to mind. I don't remember quite when I learned this little gem of a song, but it seems like I was in 4th or 5th grade. I thought it was some obscure, little song that has long since been forgotten, but to my astonishment and delight, a youtube search revealed many different versions of this song, "Simple Gifts".
All those years ago when I learned the lyrics to this song, they were just words. Now, in a world that's become so technically advanced that we seem to be losing our humanity with each passing day, the lyrics of this song are a concept that I cling to. The simple gifts of sharing laughter, ideas, music, good food and drink with family and friends are what's important. The quiet evenings spent in front of the firepit under the stars sipping coffee and sharing memories with my husband or nestled under his arm as I drift off to sleep - those are gifts. The simple gifts. The gift of love.
Please enjoy this version of "Simple Gifts", by Elder Joseph Brackett, 1848, and sung by Jewel. This is exactly how I remember the melody.
Please also enjoy these versions. "Simple Gifts Shaker" has lots of interesting facts embedded in the video. "Simple Gifts Appalachian" is accompanied by the stunning black/white landscape photography of Ansel Adams.
Simple Gifts Shaker
Simple Gifts Appalachian