The American West Coming Through My Speakers

14 Jan

After lunch, I was driving back to work with my iPod cranked up. The sun was shining and masked the coldness of the air. Before turning onto campus, one of my favorite songs came through the speakers.

“I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado” was recorded by John Denver, and that is the version on my iPod. However, that is not the version that I first heard and made the song hit me in my soul.

Merle Haggard sang the song in the last scene of Centennial, a 1970s miniseries about the American West. I have already written about that movie and will not repeat myself. That scene is on YouTube, and I urge you to watch it. You will probably recognize some of the actors, and there is a great message. It gets me every time.

When I hear the song, I am reminded of my love for the American West. Its history. Its land. There is nothing better than climbing the dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Mesa Verde National Park brings back the echoes of the ancient peoples. The streets of Durango harken to the days of yesteryear, and the train in Durango will take you on a great ride to Silverton.Durango

The song is about Colorado, but, to me, it is about the entirety of the West. The mountains. The plains. The deserts. Life the way it was, and life the way it is. This song takes my mind to New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and all of the others states that make up that region. The song says Colorado, but it means everything. To me, the song means relaxation, peace of mind and wide open spaces.

The words go like this.

I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.
He’d rather spend his time out where the sky looks like a pearl after the rain.
Once again I see him walking, once again I hear him talking
to the stars he makes and asking them the bus fare.

I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.
He’d rather play his banjo in the morning when the moon is scarcely gone.
In the dawn the subway’s coming, in the dawn I hear him humming
some old song he wrote of love in Boulder Canyon. I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.

I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.
I guess he’d rather work out where the only thing you earn is what you spend.
In the end up in his office, in the end a quiet cough is all he has to show,
he lives in New York City. I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.

9 Responses to “The American West Coming Through My Speakers”

  1. frontrangescribbles January 14, 2016 at 03:28 #

    I guess I’d rather be in CO too. The beauty and the history here is something.

    • Rick January 14, 2016 at 03:42 #

      It’s good to be where you’d rather be.

  2. Andrew Petcher January 14, 2016 at 07:48 #

    I remember Centennial. I visited Mesa Verde in 1995. It was an eye-opener. Before that I had always thought American history started when the Europeans arrived!

    • Rick January 14, 2016 at 14:15 #

      Native Americans were around for a long time before the rest of us arrived. Sometimes, we all forget about that.

  3. jcalberta January 14, 2016 at 19:10 #

    Thanks Rick … just downloaded the song to MP3 from YouTube.
    This tool:
    is fast and easy.

    • Rick January 14, 2016 at 19:55 #

      Thanks for the link. I’m glad you liked my post.

  4. Marilyn Armstrong January 15, 2016 at 06:29 #

    Right now, we are here, in the west. But I’m sure next week, back home, I’ll wish I was back in the west. There’s something about that sky …

    • Rick January 17, 2016 at 05:02 #

      The sky is an important part of its mystique.

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