The Queen of Soul is singing “You make me feel like a natural woman”. She is paying tribute to the songwriter, Carole King. The song was a hit for Franklin in 1967 but was included on King’s Tapestry album which came out in 1971.
I was ten years old when King and Franklin were singing about being “natural women”. This music is an art installation that had and still has the power to lift me quickly and easily to joy.
For the six years that Tapestry stayed on the music charts (my tween and teen years), I used to lay on my bedroom floor and pull the loading arm up on my record player so that the stylus would return to the start over and over automatically. I’d lay there in flowery shirt and bell-bottom jeans with long hair as curly as Carole King’s and listen to her play the piano and belt out those songs for hours. I knew every word to every song. It seems hard to imagine that the content of those songs resonated so deeply with that 10 year old girl but they did. It speaks to why we must never patronize children. I’m 54 now and when I hear this music I’m feeling the passion of the 10 year old I was and then some.
The timing of finding Ms. Franklin singing to Ms. King on Twitter last night is serendipitous for me. I feel like it’s a special message from the universe.
You see, in October of 2015 I finished a book I’d been working on for nine years. I told my husband and son that when the book was done, I was going to buy a piano and learn how to play the songs of Tapestry. Right now my goal still feels “so far away” and yet I did acquire that piano since I finished my book. Some may say “it’s too late baby” at age 54 to learn to play, but that’s not part of my vocabulary – thanks to Carole King.
Aretha Franklin is 73 years old. Carole King is the same age. I hope when I’m 73, I can play my own private and quiet tribute to these “natural women”. They have lived and shared their gifts so fully, they are inspiring me to stretch and to see what more lies inside of me. If I desire this so much, surely I must listen and pay heed to that desire. It feels like a natural part of this woman.
This is what’s inspiring me on the first day of January, 2016. How about you? What’s going to help you savour it all this year?