The Vernal Equinox, Nina Simone and Feeling Good

Today is one of my favourite days of the year. At 10.28pm tonight we reach the Vernal Equinox, one of only two points in the year when the number of hours of night and day are equal. Because it’s March, and I’m in the Northern Hemisphere, that means it’s just going to get lighter and brighter every day now for the next three months. Unlike when we reach the Autumnal Equinox, when the thought of all those extra hours of darkness makes me sad, this equinox makes me very perky – The montbretia flowers in my garden today definitely add to this perkiness!

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Any regulars to this place will know that over the last six months I have been celebrating these markers in the calendar, and following some of the traditions from those days when nature dictated all that was important in life. In the pagan calendar today is Ostara, derived from the Old English goddess Eostre, later borrowed by Christians for Easter. This festival is therefore all about fertility, where seeds are blessed for planting soon after. It is traditionally the day of equilibrium, neither harsh winter or merciless summer (although never that merciless here in Scotland to be fair). Painted eggs and baskets of flowers are generally used to decorate the house so yet again I have created a little tableau of my own with eggs, spring flowers, a hare (not a real one) and a yellow candle.

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Yesterday, as it was Sunday, I went for a walk. I couldn’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm for blogging at all and thought I might find my lost mojo, which seems to have gone a-wanderin’ of late. Taking inspiration from C at Sun Dried Sparrows who took us on a walk with her recently, how about if I take you on my walk, which was up to the local duck pond. Also, will we find the missing mojo?

Right here we go, anti-clockwise or clockwise round the pond? Yesterday I chose anti-clockwise and didn’t even realise how much birdsong was in the air until I played this back. So far however, no sign of the missing mojo. Hmm… Where can it have gone?

Ok, so now we’ve got to the other side of the pond but thank goodness I went to the loo before I left or I’d be in trouble with the sound of all this running water! Loads of bikes been this way by the looks of things so a bit muddy but time perhaps for a wee sit down and another good look round for that pesky missing mojo.

No still nothing, but wait a minute, I see a few ducks out on the pond, maybe they’ve seen it.

“Hi guys, you haven’t happened to see my missing mojo have you? It was around until a couple of weeks ago but seems to have gone a-wanderin’.”

“Oh, hi Alyson, lovely day isn’t it. Yes we have seen it actually, it’s over by the Pet Cemetery.”

“Cheers guys, I’ll go and take a look.”

Got it!  It was hiding out amongst those tiny little gravestones marking the resting place of long gone, but much-loved pets.

What with the birdsong, the ducks, the blue skies and the forest, the perkiness brought on by the coming of today’s vernal equinox really hit me yesterday on the way back from my walk. What kind of song would suit a day like this I thought to myself and it turned out to be Feeling Good by Nina Simone.

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me yeah

Feeling Good by Nina Simone:

Feeling/Feelin’ Good (take your pick) was written back in 1964 by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the Broadway musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd. Nina Simone recorded the song for her 1965 album “I Put a Spell on You” and it has kind of become a standard and been covered by many other artists including George Michael, Muse, Michael Bublé and American jazz musician John Coltrane. I would of course be lying if I said I remembered it from back then – Oh no, as often happens Nina’s version was used by a car company for a 1994 television advert, which in turn led to it re-entering the UK Singles Chart in the July of that year. Thankfully I couldn’t have been over-exposed to it at that time, as sometimes happens when song is used in that way, as I still enjoy listening to it and it is of course my very aptly chosen featured song for today, the day of the Vernal Equinox

It is not often that I revisit anything from the 21st century in this blog but I do also have a soft spot for the version by Muse which was originally recorded for their 2001 album “Origin of Symmetry” but was again used for an advert (must be good for sales), this time for an airline company. Until next time, I give you Muse with Feeling GoodHappy Ostara!

Feeling Good Lyrics
(Song by Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley)

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me yeah

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me
Oh
And I’m feeling good

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel
River running free, you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree, you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don’t you know
Butterflies all havin’ fun, you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done, that’s what I mean
And this old world, is a new world
And a bold world for me

Stars when you shine, you know how I feel
Scent of the pine, you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me

And I’m feeling good

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

14 thoughts on “The Vernal Equinox, Nina Simone and Feeling Good”

  1. A much-needed post, since all it’s done where I live this weekend is persist it down, so no chance for a birthday walk. So much for the equinox!

    Love Nina, obviously and don’t mind the Muse version, although I’m not sure who you’re citing in terms of it being the best cover version ever. Lots of people with cloth ears, methinks.

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    1. Oops – got a bit of editing to do. What I meant was that it was cited as being the best cover version of that song, and picked that up from iffypedia. Here’s a laugh – if you search for iffypedia on Bing your blog comes up 8 times in the first page of 10 results. So that’s where I got it!

      Hope you had a nice birthday despite the rain – Vernal equinox in 2 minutes now so all will improve from now on I’m sure.

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    1. Thanks – ironically is was quite dull when I left the house but by the time I got home the sun had come out and I had a “spring” in my step!

      Oh and can’t take credit for the idea, C did an excellent walk post recently.

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  2. I look forward to the extra hours of light. Nice to be able to go in the garden in the evenings. Sadly I haven’t had much mojo for blog activities the past week. The reason being I’ve had a stomach virus for 5 days. Good news is I’ve recovered now.

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    1. Yes we’re probably on the same line of latitude as you so it really makes a difference once you pass this point (now officially passed by the way).

      Sorry to hear you’ve not been well but glad you’ve recovered. The mojo comes and goes for blogging doesn’t it but best to take its lead as posts written under the cosh are never as enjoyable to put together.

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  3. A lovely post Alyson. There are several walking posts in my back pages, but I haven’t taken the camera out with me for a couple of years – you and C have inspired me! There are very few bands about whom I can find no redeeming features at all, even if I don’t particularly care for them, but I’m afraid Muse just leave me stone cold and baffled at their popularity. Nina of course, is quite wonderful.

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    1. Looking forward to your walking post already!

      No, It seems that Muse are definitely not the darlings of the blogging community and I did suspect that as I don’t think I’ve ever seen them pop up in a post before. Agree of course that Nina does the best and most wonderful version but will stick to my guns re Muse – A very different but quite contemporary version.

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  4. Such a lovely post Alyson and many thanks for the mention. I’m glad to have inspired! And even more to see and hear your walk with a soundtrack of footsteps and birdsong… lovely. Who’d have thought the mojo would turn up by the pet cemetery? Maybe there are a few more buried there (mojos, I mean). Maybe we should give them names and think of them as pets, might stop them wandering… might have to try that.
    I have a strange sneaking respect for Muse. Mainly because of Matt Bellamy’s unashamed guitar heroics, so OTT (that performance at the start of The Brits the other year was so memorable and weirdly addictive). I don’t like this cover version though…. sort of pointless, but I guess they were young! Nina has it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for not being cross that I copied your idea but nice to share our neck of the woods (literally). Of course the mojo turned up at the Pet Cemetery because it was the last film in the series but quite apt as you say – They are perhaps like pets and if we’re not kind to them they may end up running off or worse still, permanently end up in the pet cemetery!

      Yes Nina has it but I do also have a sneaking respect for Muse – I never see these kinds of bands now on television unless they are on an awards show or suchlike but whenever I have (The Brits/Opening Ceremony of the Olympics) I’ve enjoyed them.

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    1. You are right – Of course this song has much more meaning to it when she sings it but at face value it suited the nice day I had on Sunday what with the blue sky, the breeze and the birds “flying high”.

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