Posted on January 22nd, 2016 | by Leslie

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Heather For Hélène

Notes on Track 9

When I first moved to this house there was an elderly lady living across the street.  Her driveway was lined with the most beautiful hedge of decades-old hydrangea and her gardens were immaculate.  She tended them herself, she raked her own leaves, and every winter she burned fires that scented the air with woodsmoke.

One day several years ago I saw her daughter throwing away furniture.  Soon after the house was sold, torn down and rebuilt.  I do not know whether she moved away or passed on, but I wrote this song as a tribute to the day I brought her heather from my garden.  She said, Heather is considered good luck where I’m from.

Wherever you are now, dear lady, I hope you find a fertile soil.  Fare thee well.

Inspiration

  • Hélène, my Scottish neighbour with a French name who loved her garden

Lyrics

I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

For three years or maybe more
I have walked out of my own front door
To the sights and sounds of you
Though our spoken words are few

I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

In your driveway stands a bin
All at once the movers fill it in
I can’t see the orchids bloom
In the window of your room

I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

Take with you this good luck charm
That I trust will keep you safe from harm
May you find a fertile soil
And reward for all your toil

I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

Yes, I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

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