Something Beautiful is a 2013 self-imposed initiative to find a visual feast for each day of the year.
You may not wonder how I happened to select the Dover Cliffs for today’s image, but I think it’s an interesting story. The story is about history, courage, art and life, and just a little bit about how the brain makes connections. Or, at least, my brain.
The story begins with the beginnings of today and as it will for many in the middle to eastern United States, with 3-13″ of snow. To not think “white” this morning would be a fete but not one sufficient to point me toward Dover. Last night a good friend called to tell me about something special happening to her father. I love her Dad. He is cute, sweet, funny, fathered three of the most wonderful women you would want to meet, and a music lover. I sang big band tunes at his 80th birthday which was 7 years ago.
Judy’s father, Carl, is also a WWII veteran. Badger Honor Flight is paying tribute to his service with a trip to Washington, DC. My letter will be one of many congratulating him and saying thank you. You see where this is going, don’t you? White. Music. The war. He did not, however, serve in England. He served in the South Pacific. And, there in lies an insight to how my brain works. Highly visual. Some facts don’t matter.
My mind fixed on white, war, and music and dredged up a song from the 40’s about England’s Dover cliffs. Like so much of the music I love and sing, it isn’t from my era — but my parents’. I’ve always loved There’ll Be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover . It was written before the US entered the war and was made popular by Vera Lynn. Like so many tunes from the big band era, I think I learned it singing it in the car with my Dad. When I started performing jazz standards in high school, it was a go-to ballads.
But back to the cliffs. Chalk makes them white and a stark contrast to the green fields topping it and the blue seas below. Facing the French coastline and, before air travel, they were a
beautiful sight welcoming weary Englishmen home. The song made them a symbol of peace. Thank you, Carl, and much more.