Voice in the wilderness

Oct 10, 2004

I mentioned in one of my recent iTunes posts that as a kid I would listen to the records of my parents while napping on the living room floor of our Idaho home. One of those records was a John Denver album, and I’ve been a fan ever since. So, tonight, when I was supposed to be putting Anna to bed, I let her stay up 45 minutes extra to watch a Nature special about John Denver and his songwriting: John Denver: Let This Be a Voice.

This is a beautiful documentary with stunning panoramas of scenery in Colorado and Alaska. It’s also a bit poignant, since the first part is about Denver’s love of flight and his desire, if reincarnated, to come back as an eagle. He died in 1997 when his experimental airplane crashed in California. See this page for more about his life and career.

Not long after Denver died, I was in Vanuatu. Early one evening, I was walking down the road from the Lehkao Co-op in Lironessa Village, noticing the smoke of dinner fires beginning to waft through the coconut palms and mango trees, and feeling the setting sun as it filtered through the green leaves, a delightful seeping that filled the island air with a liquid light that I swore I could bathe in. Then I heard the clear, heavenly voice of John Denver singing from a radio in one of the houses hidden in the rainforest. I kept on down the road, but it felt as if I was gliding, aloft on the voice of an eagle.

Anton Zuiker

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