a song of you

speaking of Ray Charles, I always felt “Georgia On My Mind” was a song about place – about the earth that nurtures you as a kid, the place that your body recognizes the second you cross the border. FOr me, coming south, as soon as I hit, say, San Luis Obispo, I feel it – it isn’t mental or emotional but physical, visceral recognition.

I know there are sociopolitical meanings to this song that are crucial, given the odds against Ray Charles making it out of the south as a Black man, never mind as a blind one – but to me, the song that “comes in sweet and clear like moonlight through the pines” comes through manzanita and sage and oak and the smoke of a forest fire every summer and the mysterious plume of the Grefco plant.


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