Northbound: Song sings the promise of spring

With the holiday season in full swing, I thought I’d share with you my favorite Christmas song, and why it’s meaningful to me.

I came across it a few years ago after purchasing Pink Martini’s “Joy to the World” album, which is an eclectic, fun mix of holiday songs spanning continents, faiths and traditions (download the album to play at your next holiday party). The song title is “Shchedryk,” or “Bountiful Evening” in Ukranian. It’s a 100-year-old song that tells the story of a swallow flying into a farmer’s home to sing of wealth to come the following spring.

If you heard the song, you may instantly recognize the melody — it was adapted into the Christmas “Carol of the Bells” song that is probably best remembered from Home Alone.

More than foretelling good fortune and wealth to come, the song is really a reminder of the blessings we already have and enjoy.

The swallow asks the farmer to take account of what he owns, and what has been given to him, and tells him that, even without luck, he will continue to thrive.

No matter how hard it is sometimes for us in our lives, despite setbacks, struggles, it’s important to remind yourself it’s all going to be OK. Maybe it isn’t now — but it will be. There’s always hope, and a plan for all of us.

Maybe as a child, those words would have been lost on me. But as an adult, life just gets more complicated. It requires hard work, compromises, dedication.

I don’t often take account for what I have. I’m the kind of person who will focus on what I don’t have. Perhaps that’s my motivator to get ahead in life and fix my own problems, but in the holidays there’s always room to take a step back and share joy and what we do have with those we love.

Shchedryk. Listen to the song on iTunes, or YouTube.  If you’re lucky enough to hear a live performance, let me know — I’d love to attend one in North County. For reference, here are the translated lyrics:

(Translation:)

Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka (New Year’s carol)

A little swallow flew (into the household)

And started to twitter

To summon the master

“Come out, come out, O master (of the household)

Look at the sheep pen

There the ewes are nestling

And the lambkin have been born

Your goods (livestock) are great

You will have a lot of money, (by selling them)

Your goods (livestock) are great

You will have a lot of money, (by selling them)

If not money, then chaff: (from all the grain you will harvest)

You have a dark-eyebrowed (beautiful) wife”

Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka

A little swallow flew

 

There’s a bountiful evening, for all of us in North County. Don’t forget that. I won’t.

Vince Vasquez is an economist based in Torrey Pines. He is a Carlsbad resident.

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