Ever have a song blindside you?

I was listening to a podcast with Norah Jones. At the end, she sang two songs.

Now, to be honest with you, I rarely focus much on lyrics when I’m listening to a song for the first time (or most of the time). I have a lot of trouble understanding the words (partially due to how music is, and partially due to hearing loss), and so it’s much more enjoyable for me to just listen to the whole thing and not try to focus on lyrics.

So because of that, I was caught off guard when I started understanding the words.

The song was The Grass is Blue, a Dolly Parton cover. In that link, she sings it with piano, but in the podcast (at about 1:28), she accompanied herself on guitar.

The chorus:

Rivers flow backwards
Valleys are high
Mountains are level
Truth is a lie
I’m perfectly fine
And I don’t miss you
The sky is green
And the grass is blue

It kicked me in the gut. I cried. (I definitely didn’t hear the second verse.) I have no idea why I was so sad; I don’t know who I was missing. (There are a lot of people it could be.)

If I had listened to the first verse, I wouldn’t have been surprised—it talks about a break up—but I didn’t, so I was.

I’m not surprised by it any more, but it still makes me teary. I wonder what it’s poking at in me…

(Dolly loved Norah’s cover; they performed the song together at the CMAs in 2003.)


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