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Box of Rain - the Grateful Dead

Winter stories. Like most mammals in northern climes, homo sapiens has a hibernation period that begins directly after the festive period that lasts from Christmas Day to New Year's Day, where we banquet physically and spiritually before retreating into a spell of quietness and moderation while the wind blows above and without. A key part of this is Boxing Day, for some a day of exercise - there's nothing like going out the morning after Christmas and indulging in a strenuous team sport - which many believe originates from the idea that there were boxing matches on the 26th December.

But I prefer the theory that Boxing Day is so-called because this was the day when people gave gifts or money to those worse off than themselves.

Last Boxing Day was a day of continuous rain which curtailed many sporting options including the less strenuous one of going on a long walk, but the idea of an anonymous gift of peace and goodwill, put me in mind of this poignant offering from the Dead.

This is the Buddhist Psalm 23 of the rock era, promising hope and love to those who are "tired and broken" by life through the small things of everyday coupled with our own dreams and memories. It's the salve of our hibernation, the perfect gift to a troubled heart, affordable, pure, ordinary and impossible, magical and from the heart, echoing the transience of life, saying, (but not saying), - don't worry, it'll be alright - "Just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there, believe it if you need it, or leave it if you dare....."

Prescription for March, start the track again and sing along. It's better than a week of therapy sessions.

Look out of any window any morning, any evening, any day. maybe the sun is shining birds are winging or rain is falling from a heavy sky

what do you want me to do to do for you to see you through? For this is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.

Walk out of any doorway feel your way, feel your way like the day before

maybe you'll find direction around some corner where it's been waiting to meet you what do you want me to do to watch for you while you were sleeping? Then please don't be surprised when you find me dreaming too.

Look into any eyes, you'll find by you you can see clear to another day maybe been seen before through other eyes on other days while going home what do you want me to do to do for you to see you through? It's all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.

Walk into splintered sunlight inch your way through dead dreams to another land maybe you're tired and broken your tongue is twisted with words half spoken and thoughts unclear what do you want me to do to do for you to see you through? A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through.

Just a box of rain wind and water believe it if you need it if you don't, just pass it on sun and shower wind and rain in and out the window like a moth before a flame

and it's just a box of rain I don't know who put it there believe it if you need it or leave it if you dare

and it's just a box of rain or a ribbon for your hair such a long, long time to be gone and a short time to be there

According to lyricist Robert Hunter, he and Phil Lesh wrote "Box of Rain" for Phil's father, who was in hospital dying from cancer. Which perhaps accounts for the melancholic tone of Lesh's vocal, the soothing mixture of sadness and love that pervades the song.

Hope you had a good hibernation and are now ready for spring.


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