As a traditional musician schooled primarily in the Celtic tradition, I am fond of traditional themes and devices for communicating messages. On our home island right now there is a sometimes fierce debate occurring about the future of the Crown lands, that involves the possibility of creating a national park. Today I was thinking about the complexities of the debate, and how it has seemed to me that those leading the opposition to the park are speaking on the one hand out of a concern for protecting something dear about our Island, but it has felt a little off to me. Like a father who won’t let his daughter grow up. That, it turns out is a a very old story, and so I made a little song today about our place, telling a little story that captures I think how I feel about the park, and the partnerships that we would enter into to make it possible.
the short answer is that, given everything, the option of establishing a national park on Bowen excites me. While I have been carefully weighing the pros and cons, and while I could happily live with either option, I am increasingly finding many of the articulated reasons for voting no to such a future to be riddled with pessimism, fear and clingy attachment. For me, a park offers Bowen a chance to be creative, interesting, beautiful and innovative in the way we move forward in the future. And so, here is the song:
Come gather round you islanders, a story I will tell
About a gorgeous maiden within whose midst we dwell
Whose beauty and whose presence was coveted as well
By her negative and ever doting father.
“I raised you from a baby,” he was wont to say.
“I saved you when an evil man came to steal you away,
I preserved the beauty that is yours for you to wear today
And I’d do the same again in an instant.”
Now the maiden had her suitors, who came from far and near
And every one her father met left her home with fear.
They sought her hand in marriage but left her place in tears
And her father only ever issued no.
One day as she sat watching the latest suitor leave.
Her heart began to fail and her breath began to heave
She felt herself imprisoned and she began to grieve
For the fading of the promise of her beauty.
She went to search the country for a partner for her life
A stable man who loved her, and who would take her for his wife
Who would stay beside her through the victories and strife.
And she found him and she brought him back to father.
With deep suspicion in his heart he looked him up and down
He accused him of an evil plot to usurp his crown
He met the maiden’s one true love with a stony frown
And he issued forth a stern and solid no.
Now the maiden didn’t stand for this and she looked him in the eye.
Said she “it’s time you stood aside and hold your strident cries
This suitor will be with me long after you have died.
And I know I’ll finally come to life beside him.”
Her father had no answer for this surprising turn
He showed so little interest in what she’d come to learn
His anger boiled over and he became more stern
And demand that she prove to him she loved him.
She sat down by her father and took him by the hand
She broke it to him gently so he would understand
His overbearing attitude and selfish reprimands
No longer had a claim upon her choices
For if the maiden were to stay within her father’s range
Her future would be grim indeed for as the world changed
She would stay forever in her father’s gilded cage
And her life would wither down to nothing.
Islanders you’ve strongly heard the tales others tell
You’ve seen the paranoia of the coming living hell
But surely you must know that a maiden can live well
If her partner helps her build a life of beauty.