Last week, we took a look at Friendship (our May Theme) Taylor Swift-Style: fun, whimsical, kicking back and letting go of stress, etc. So I thought this week we could look at a more sombre and enduring side of friendship with the help of Simon and Garfunkel.
I have been thinking a lot about my own friendships this month, and I am amazed at the beauty of how many different levels and functions of friendship exist. Many of our friends will be short term relationships that serve a certain purpose in a particular season of our life, but oftentimes grow less present as you both change and grow in different ways. One day you realize you used to spend so much time with someone, but you haven’t seen them in months and there is nothing to draw you together again. Some friends end up being lifelong relationships that grow with you and adapt to the many changes of life; friends that will continue to be relevant even when you don’t see each other for many years. Both of these are significant to our growth and overall quality of life, as well as the friendships that fall somewhere in between.
When I met my best friend, we were 12 and one of the things we had in common was our taste in music: specifically Simon and Garfunkel. So this song, Old Friends became one of the songs of our friendship. And now, 12 years later, our time spent together consists of phone calls about our kids and our professional goals and interests rather than sleepovers making brownies and staying up late watching LOST and talking about boys. But we still both hold a special place in our hearts for Paul Simon and are utterly swept away by his lyrics and flowing acoustics. Whenever I come across this particular song, I reflect on its meaning in terms of my friendship with Erin, and I wonder if we will ever be sitting on a park bench together when we’re 70.
Musically, this song is best when played with the original guitar tablature. The stepping harmonies of two strings at a time give the song it’s vulnerable nostalgic feel. So I would encourage all of you to give it a try. If you are no stranger to tablature, you will probably be able to sight read it straight away. If you have not played this style of music very much, it is a good one to start with because the tempo is relaxed and the positions are easy. I have also found that learning Paul Simon tablature gives me accessible and aesthetically pleasing tools to use when improvising or playing other folky songs.
I hope you enjoy learning/listening to this song. Do you have any songs that represent significant friendships to you? We would love to hear your stories and add your Friendship songs to our repertoire list!
Can you imagine us years from today?
Sharing a park bench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy