things that make me smile – walking in memphis

I don’t know what year it was when my brother introduced me to Marc Cohn and “Walking in Memphis”, but the song grabbed me by the soul the very first time I heard it. I’ve listened to it countless times since and never tire of it. I’ve even used it for big, sweeping, leap combinations in modern dance classes.

Every time I hear the first few piano notes, my mouth stretches into an involuntary smile, my eyes crinkling and my heart lifting in recognition of an old, well-loved friend. Cohn’s voice and the lyrics and the rolling rhythm and the piano playing all come together in some sort of magical, alchemical mix that never fails to take me to my happy place.

The tune that soothes your spirit may be different from the one that eases mine, but whatever music is balm to your soul, be sure to give yourself the gift of taking the time to listen and enjoy and absorb the healing and renewal that it offers. For me, this one is always a sure thing; I hope you enjoy it, too.

11 thoughts on “things that make me smile – walking in memphis

  1. I love this song. Thanks for sharing it today. I don’t know if it’s the sound of his voice, the music or the words, or maybe a combination of all, but this song grabs my heart.

  2. This is one my favorite tunes to listen to when I just want to “feel”. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but, when I listen to it, I have to just let the music seep into me and the rest of the world goes away.

    • It makes perfect sense…you must be a dancer at heart. :) In her latest book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, Martha Beck says that dropping into what she calls “wordlessness” is the first step to “wayfinding” (this link does a pretty good job of summarizing the key components of wayfinding:, and one of the ways that she suggests to do this is listening to music.

      Dancing (and music…for me they’re inextricable from one another) has always had the ability to make the rest of the world go away for me. The other things that can do that for me are gardening and writing, but they’re a quieter, more internal kind of wordlessness. Dancing and music have the ability to lift me out of myself and make me “larger” somehow.

      • I may well be a dancer at heart, but my body gave up on it ages ago (yeah, I’m one of those “I ain’t got no rhythm” guys on the dance floor). Playing the guitar is a whole different matter (not that I’m great). It just allows me to let what’s inside me come out a whole lot easier than words.

        • Oh, you’re dancing…you’re just dancing with your fingers. :) I know I’m a little biased, but I think all of us are dancers when we’re little. I’ve seen evidence of it at street fairs too many times—little ones moving instinctively, doing exactly what the music is “telling” them to do with their bodies. In our society, though, dancing isn’t encouraged or accepted, especially among males (except in certain ethnic cultures), so it gets “socialized” out of us.

          • I agree with you. I’ve seen my children and their children do exactly what you describe. I think it’s becoming a bit more accepted in society. I say this because I think of shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With The Stars”. Yes, I actually watch them, though not as much lately. I don’t seem to have much time any more for TV (which is a good thing :) ). It’s still not quite mainstream for men, but I think it’s going to get there one day, if we haven’t bombed or polluted ourselves of the face of the planet yet.

            • I watch both SYTYCD and DWTS. I love that they’ve raised the profile of dance as a profession, an avocation and a physically demanding activity—and that they’ve given a lot of dancers jobs!). And yes, I think it’s more acceptable for men to dance than it was, which is a good thing on a lot of levels.

              “While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. That is why I dance.” ~Hans Bos

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