Good Morning, Puff

I woke up to another one of those extraordinary mornings we get here, in this house on Cherry Lane. The sunrise was trying to break through over the eastern hills, and the mist was rising off the Hawley Swamp to filter the sunlight. The first week here we hadn’t hung the drapes in the master bedroom, and sunrise would get us up every morning, often to that same magical view.

Our youngest was only eight that summer we moved here, and the mist rising like steam from the lair of a dragon and the the name of the street made Barbara think of the song “Puff (The Magic Dragon)” that her sisters used to sing to her when she was about that age. She bought the sheet music and sang it with her own daughter.

I just pulled that sheet music off the shelf and read it for the first time in a long while. I noticed the copyright was 1963, the year she was born. The first thing I noticed, though, was the verse that makes the reference to “the cherry lane”. It is in the final verse.

In case you are one of the six people on earth who don’t know the song by heart, this song is an allegory about the loss of the innocent magic and imagination of youth. That was something Barbara stubbornly refused to lose. Often when she saw that mist in the morning she would look over and say “Hello, Puff”.

In the song, the little boy grows up and stops visiting his friend the dragon. Here is the verse that made Barbara connect the view from our porch with that song:

His head was filled with sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his lifelong friend, Puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon, sadly slipped into his cave.

Within minutes, that beautiful misty view had turned into a light fog that completely obscured the hills behind it. It usually does that.

We were together for thirty years, half of them in this magical place, where dragons lurk just across the street. The magic is still out there, every day, not just in the past. It is my choice whether to remember that and keep looking for it, or just see the fog.

I choose to see the magic. Good morning, Puff.

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