Boating Through Marriage, with Depression

Hi there,

If you’re new around here, welcome!  Each month we have a theme around which we pick weekly songs and write about them.   We send out a sampling of our recordings of those songs on the last Saturday of the month. (get the sampler?) Below is an excerpt of the writing about this week’s featured song.

Also – new this month – you can now purchase just the June collection.  Click here for more info.


By Naomi Bird

originally published to our email list, on Saturday, June 8, 2019

Our theme this month is water.  As I type this I am sitting on the beautiful patio of Silverwood Park, peering through the trees at the glistening Silver Lake of St. Anthony, Minnesota.  Land of ten thousand lakes.   When Nathan went on a drive with the kids yesterday, he challenged them to guess how many seconds would pass before they reached another lake.  Twenty-three, then twenty-eight.  One can’t go far without catching the glisten of water (unless it’s winter, but we’re not going to think about that right now.)

There is something transportive in gazing over water.  Even if swimsuits and floaties and fishing rods aren’t part of the picture there is something therapeutic about being in the presence of the beauty and majesty of a body of water.  There is mystery.  There is invitation.  There is presence of something immensely more powerful than I am. And to think that there is an entire ecosystem living underneath.  How is that even possible?

Last week Nathan wrote about his own composition, “I Want to Go,” which isn’t directly about water, but called forth some of the thoughts and feelings associated with this gigantic mysterious gorgeous thing saying, “Look at me! Enjoy me! Swim in me! Fish in me!”  Except his song was about taking a swim in the uncertainty of career change and unknown future of pursuing dreams.

Literal water makes an appearance this week with “The Water is Wide.”  Did you just start humming the tune upon hearing the title?  Probably. It’s a favored folk classic that has traveled the world for over a hundred years.  There’s no denying that the tone of the writing is rather sad. Publishing a sad song about failed relationships does not seem like the wisest of choices for our anniversary weekend.  However, I suggest to you an interpretation that infuses a hopeful context not immediately obvious.

The rest of the article continues with my opening up about how it has been to be a wife with depression married to a husband giving unconditional love throughout all the yuck and times of change and challenge.  Nathan is amazing. Each of the verses of this song inspired a special insight into how life has been for us as well as how the cold hard seasons might actually be a necessary and important part of sustenance for the long haul.  Because that’s what we think marriage is all about.  

The full writing will be published with the June collection of SongNotes from the Birdsavailable here.

“The Water Is Wide” – a Scottish Folk SongThe water is wide, I cannot cross o’er
And neither have I, the wings to fly.
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my true love and I.A ship there is and she sails the sea
She’s laden deep, as deep can be.
But not so deep as the love I’m in,
And I know not if I sink or swim.

I leaned my back up against an oak,
Thinking ‘twere a trusty tree.
But first it bent and then it broke,
Thus did my love prove false to me.

O love is handsome and love is kind,
Bright as a jewel when first it’s new
But love grows old and waxes cold,
And fades away like morning dew.

Lake photo credit: Naomi Bird, at Lake Waconia in Waconia, MN


New this month: You can get the June collection as a single, kind of like a digital EP.  Click here to see what’s included.


Not ready to pay to subscribe, but want to stay in the loop with the Bird flock?  Get our Saturday Sampler emails here.

More about us:

We are the Birds.
We perform and record songs and write about them.
Nathan sings, Naomi plays piano, and often others are involved in our recordings as well.
We have old souls, and most of our music has been well loved already for many years.

Our goal is to use our music to enrich the lives of seniors – both in age and in spirit! – and cultivate meaningful connections between generations.

>> Here is a sampling of our May collection of garden-inspired songs (including special guest Christy Jones playing ukulele and singing on the last song!) Click to hear the sampler.

Each Saturday we send out a free email that contains a little something thoughtful to ponder, based on a song.  On the last Saturday of the month, we send a sampler of our recordings of all those songs from the month.  Sprinkled throughout these emails we also include fun family anecdotes about our four hatchlings, links to blog posts with behind-the-scenes perks, and info about opportunities to connect more through events or products.

We would love to share our music with more people. AND – some new free bonus tracks will be delivered to our email contacts periodically, so don’t miss that!

To get the free Saturday Sampler emails from us, click here or go to:

Thanks for reading!

~Nathan and Naomi

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