“Whistle & Fish” by John Prine: Choosing Lightness in Time of Crisis

29 March 2020 EDITOR’S NOTE: Just heard today that John Prine is in critical condition with COVID-19, and I don’t even know what to say.


It seems that things, while still absurd, have gotten a bit too heavy lately. And, it is good to step away from the heaviness, no matter how serious it is.

Even legends like John Prine stepped away from heavier songs about social commentary to record songs like “Whistle & Fish”, a song that’s most simple message is about gratitude and not taking anything too seriously.

Fish and whistle, whistle and fish,
Eat everything that they put on your dish,
When we get through we’ll make a big wish,
That we never have to do this again, again? again?

When we’re used to going so fast, how do we lighten up?

During these times, I’ve appreciated the funny or simple things I notice on my runs more because, well, I ain’t got nothin’ but time. I’ve enjoyed “hanging out” with my South Side Hit Pen mates a lot. There are more home-cooked meals. More reading. More music. Less ruminating. It is a cliche, but it has made me want a different kind of life and have the time flesh out what kind of life that might be.

While the world seems like it might be coming apart, it is a quiet time and there is much to behold, and I am in awe of how quickly things that societal paragons and powerhouses crumble without us all to keep it afloat. The phrase “tiny but mighty” is more true now than ever. I am reveling in my smallness and appreciating the small delights.

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hope

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We cannot control much right now, and it is important to maintain a lightness of being and sense of humor in this time like our dear friend John Prine. Stay well, friends.