I went to a funeral last week. As everyone filed out, they played a song I’d never heard called “On Eagle’s Wings.” An older couple behind me sang along, their voices low and close in my ear: “He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn.” The next day I got a voicemail from my mother. She sometimes calls and asks me to look up something on the internet. This time she wanted the lyrics to “On Eagle’s Wings.” And “Desperado.” And what she described as “that CCR song that mentions Winslow, Arizona.” It’s wasn’t Creedence Clearwater Revival though. The song “Take It Easy” was a hit by the Eagles…
Well, I’m standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
Its a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me
So I find the lyrics and print them out for Mom, then I go to the library. I wanted to find a book by Lewis Hyde. He was featured in a New York Times article
a few weeks ago. I was hoping to find “The Gift,” which examines the value of art and creativity in a market driven culture. It’s portrayed as a modern classic in the article but, oddly, the library doesn’t have it. So I got out Hyde’s second book instead, “Trickster Makes This World.” The introduction begins with this: “Once during the winter after I got out of college I was hitchhiking north of Winslow, Arizona.” It wasn’t a girl in a Ford that slowed down for Lewis. It was three Navajo men in a Chevy.
I love weird little overlaps like that. It got weirder just now, when I searched for the lyrics. I stumbled into this intersection
of art and commerce. A songwriter comes up with a few lines 30 years ago, and now they’re hawking tote bags and key chains.