Out of my window, looking in the night…

Out of my window, looking in the night, 

I can see the barges flickering light.  

Silently flows the river to the sea 

And the barges too go silently.

A couple of months ago, my sister Susan wrote about singing to herself when riding her horse as a way of conquering fear and remembering to relax and breathe (susancorcoran.wordpress.com/ninety-nine-bottles-of-beer-on-the-wall/). Similarly, I was singing to myself (if my tuneless rendering of songs can be called that) this past weekend when we were on a training ride.

I began doing this when I first started riding my bike for distances longer than 20 miles. It was a challenge for me physically, but it was more a challenge mentally as I would get bored and tired of the effort it took to maintain my pace and cadence. One day, I started singing to myself to help pass the time and the songs that came into my head were the ones I learned as a Girl Scout:  “Barges,” “Spider’s Web,” “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Dona,” “Greensleeves,”  “Hush, Little Baby.”

I went through my entire repertoire this past weekend as we rode into a headwind and afterwards, was prompted to look online for Girl Scout songs. I found out during my research that some of these songs have more verses than I ever knew. I also found out, as so many of us do, that for some songs, I either learned the wrong lyrics or never knew what the correct lyrics were. For example, this is the chorus of “Spider’s Web” as I learned it:

There’s a web like a spider’s web

Made of silk and light and shadow

That I weave in my room each night.

It’s a web made to catch a dream

Hold it there until I wake up

There to tell me my dream is all right.

This is the version I found online:

There’s a web like a spider’s web

Made of silver light and shadows

Spun by the moon in my room at night.

It’s a web made to catch a dream

Hold it tight ’til I awaken

As if to tell me my dream is all right.

They’re almost the same, but not quite, which makes me wonder what other songs I have wrong in my head!

The great part about looking up lyrics for the songs I remembered was being reminded of other songs. There were rounds and multi-part songs like “One Bottle of Pop,” “Make New Friends,” and “Sarasponda.” While I don’t think my fellow cyclists will want to join me in those, I’ve refreshed my memory of the lyrics for songs like “Kookaburra” and “Kumbaya” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “500 Miles.”

To someone with an ear for music, these songs will probably all sound alike the way I sing them, but they’ll help the miles go by for me.

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