Five Canadian songs that connect us to nature
For me, listening to music can have similar effects to a walk in the woods. Hearing a good song can make me feel freer, more connected and sometimes can even make me breathe a little bit easier after a stressful day. Like roots under a tree, music encourages me to delve a little bit deeper and to experience a feeling of interdependence with the world around me. The following five songs by Canadian artists explore the presence of nature in our daily lives and how important it is to experience and conserve the world outside our windows:
“Heart of a River” – Justin Rutledge
This song emphasizes the connection that we can feel to nature and the yearning that exists when we are without it. When Rutledge sings “We want to be part of/the heart of the river,” I believe he is expressing his yearning to contribute to and experience nature. To me, he is suggesting that nature is a part of us and it can help us thrive.
“Big Yellow Taxi” – Joni Mitchell
Released in 1970, this song explores how easy it can be to forget the majesty of nature if we don’t protect it. Mitchell’s famous refrain, “They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot,” refers to urbanization and turning nature into monetary profit, instead of enjoying it for its intrinsic value.
“Mystic River” – Blue Rodeo
It can be easy to forget the rejuvenation that spending time in nature can provide. This song is a reminder that the outside world is always there, we just have to seek it out. In this song, nature brings the character back to himself and reminds him of the things and people that he loves. The “Mystic River” takes him out of the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and reminds him of the value of simplicity.
“Escarpment Blues” – Sarah Harmer
Harmer’s songs tend to produce intense goosebumps due to her simple but honest lyrics. In this song, Harmer explores the idea of our footprint on nature, specifically Ontario's Niagara Escarpment region. She hints that nature has its own agenda, one that needs to be respected if we are to live in harmony with it.
“Leaves, Trees, Forest” – Dan Mangan
Mangan presents nature as a counsellor in this heavy, yet refreshing song. Despite being overwhelmed or stressed, being outside in the natural world can provide a much-needed grounding and therapeutic effect. Although Mangan “can’t look for [hope],” he seems to unconsciously find it by immersing himself in nature.