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Archive for March 6th, 2007

You can turn out the lights, but the stars still shine.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Joel Mabus is a fine musician, a national presence who happens to be from this “neck o’the woods.” He lived in East Lansing for a long time. He isn’t a very close friend but we enjoy one another’s company when we have the luck to be together.

Joel is skilled at songwriting (both poetic/thoughtful and funny) and plays many instruments extremely well. He has a distinctive style of playing. When I am listening to someone else’s album and he has contributed an instrumental solo to their project, I can identify the guitar playing, for example, as Joel’s. He has put out many albums, some instrumental and some vocal/song with instruments. I own five of these albums, and I’m not much of a music collector.

firelakecdcover.jpgIn 1990, Joel put out an album called “Firelake.” It contains the song “Snow on the Water.” This is the most calming song I know which helps me deal with loss and grief. His way with words (and just the right melody beneath those words) created what I consider a classic. I remember at one of our music parties, a friend and I got out this CD and agreed that we would like it somehow incorporated into our own memorial services.

Joel has given me permission to post the lyrics to the song here. The memorial service for Robert Busby is today, at Dart Auditorium (Lansing Community College) at 4pm and I will miss it. Tonight Brian and I will participate in a tribute on Progressive Torch and Twang (read this blog post for details), which will make me feel better. And meanwhile all day, I will repeat the words of this wonderful, hopeful song to myself.

I hope I will be able to start a more routine existance after a day of memorial and tribute. I am eager to start healing from this shock. Yes, we’re not in charge of our process but a week of crying takes its toll.

It’s not that I saw Robert often, it’s that when I *did* see him he was such a fine, calm presence. He was perhaps the best listener I have known, and because of that he knew me better than I knew him. Of all people, he did not deserve this sort of end. It is the tragedy, the big picture, that keeps me in tears… not merely my own personal loss. And with that I will turn to the comforting words of my friend, Joel.

Snow On The Water
By Joel Mabus

You can steal my money – you can wreck my car –
You can cut the strings off this old guitar.
You can do what you will, but you won’t get the best of me
You can take back the love that you swore was mine –
You can turn out the lights but the stars still shine –
‘Cause where you put your treasure – that’s where your heart will be.

It’s snow on the water – Snow on the water,
Such beautiful snow on the water,
Gone……….Gone……….Gone.

You can touch it on your body – you can put it in the bank –
You can nail it up in the suburbs plank by plank –
You can drink it from a bottle – sail it on the deep blue sea.
You can rock it in the cradle – seek it in a friend,
Why, some people fight about it to the bitter end,
But where you put your treasure, that’s where your heart will be.

It’s snow on the water – Snow on the water,
Such beautiful snow on the water,
Gone……….Gone……….Gone.

Tonight I’m thinking ’bout my friends who have gone before –
I sure do hate to think I’ll never see them no more;
But sometimes in my dreams, I can hear them talk to me.
And when the time comes for me to go
I want my friends to consider the snow,
Because where you put your treasure, that’s where your heart will be.

It’s snow on the water – Snow on the water,
Such beautiful snow on the water,
We’re gone……….Not really gone……….Just gone.

It’s snow on the water – Snow on the water,
Such beautiful snow on the water,
Gone……….Gone……….Gone.

Thanks, Joel, for a timeless and beautiful work of art. Friends, I highly recommend you go out and buy this album, it’s a delight.