“You look so different with your wings . . . They’ve grown to twice their size . . .” (C. Smith)

;;; by Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps

Darling, France has really reeled you in
You look so different with your wings
They’ve grown to twice their size
They’ve grown to twice their size

Maybe they’ll stop running into you
as long as you refuse to move
You don’t care
You don’t care
Just keep working it out
And great sea, I’m giving you one more,
but don’t come asking for any more
These babes are yours for now
These babes are yours for now

In giving you the strongest bones of all of them
I’m only asking you to send her a lover
her a lover
So she’ll keep working it
Just keep working
Working it
Just keep working
Working it…
Just keep working
Working it out

And darling, a makeshift bow of yarn and glue won’t catch him before he captures you
So go on find another… find another
Because you’ve got all of the right things… you’ve got all of the right things
Because you’ve got all of the right things… you’ve got all of the right things
Yeah, that’s what you’ve got
Yeah, that’s what you’ve got
So just keep working it out.

If you have followed along to the lyrics and the song and you have a few minutes, try thinking about how the song could be interpreted. Here is a question and a quote to help generate some ideas:

  • What might the over-sized wings signify?
  • “I’m only asking you to send her a lover…”

Now, there are three pieces to this puzzle, so bare with the seemingly disconnected fragments until the end where I can hopefully tie everything together, illustrating the significance of this post and its applicability to more than just myself and France.

My good friend and roommate, Kristi, wrote to me in a letter that she thought of me while listening to this song. She told me how great it has been watching me make strides over the past academic year as I embraced learning a new language, and how she interpreted the song as me being the person France has captured.

A few days before my trip, my aunt gave me a card that she had made with the design of an owl on it that she had created. She has been an artist all her life, and it was quite incredible. She had the chance to visit France a long time ago when she was studying art, and she wrote on the inside of the card, “France will change you.”

Finally, today, I walked over to a woman with a table at the annual market. She had paintings behind her that she had created, and on the table were piles of journals with illustrations and designs on the inside, conveying all that she had seen, felt, tasted, smelled, discovered… On the cover of each of these journals was a country name, and she told me that she had gone to each country for a year, and had started in 2002, I believe. She nodded her head immediately, eyes wide and alive, when I asked her if the experiences had changed her.

Although the idea of new experiences affecting change is nothing new, I think that we sometimes forget the significance behind this idea. Kristi told me, when our workloads were at their most stressful during the semester, that she could not live without new challenges because she finds that she grows the most from them. Being scared, feeling displaced, questioning identity, purpose, feeling discomfort–these are the moments from which we learn, and they are not without their high points as well–elation, discovery, sense of place, moments of clarity, contentedness. Another friend told me that when conditions are beyond shitty, he smiles to himself, for many reasons, but one being that it feels good to be able to feel so much, and I think that it lets him know that he is alive.

The main idea of this post has traveled all over, but I think the reason I am writing to you now, why this song came to mind, is because today was a particularly hard day. I felt a lot of the above sentiments, and frankly, I missed home. However, I know that feeling this way is necessary for learning from the experience, and because of this, it makes me happy to know that France has not been one perfect streak of elation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and if you have been following along on my adventures, I would like to thank you again. The blog has been getting a surprising amount of traffic, and I am very grateful. Cheers!

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