“…and the cardinal hits the window.”

I heard this one yesterday while sweeping the grounds around the swimming pool at the Surf 16 Condo/Motel in North Wildwood. My friend Ariel suggested the artist. When this song later came up in the YouTube auto-play rotation, I had to drop it here right away. Please find six minutes and a quiet space today to listen to this song and reflect on your blessings and on the beauty of this short life.

The song is Casimir Pulaski Day, originally from Sufjan Stevens’s Come On Feel The Illinoise album. I considered buying Illinoise when it came out in 2005, on the strength of its hit Jacksonville. I never did buy the album, and today I regret not having done so. The first line of the song tells you what it’s all about. There is little guesswork:

Goldenrod and the 4H stone: the things I brought you when I found out you had cancer of the bone.

I’ll let young Mikaela Davis take it from there. With her capable hands and angelic voice, she turned Casimir Pulaski Day from a folk song to a hymn. As she sings Sufjan’s story, perhaps you can reflect on a love in your life, if you have one, and what it might be like to have to say good-bye.

The holiday known as Casimir Pulaski Day is celebrated on the first Monday of every March in Chicago, which follows the geographic theme of Sufjan Stevens’s Illinoise album. It commemorates the the birth of it’s namesake, which occurred on March 6, 1745. Casimir Pulaski was a Revolutionary War patriot who was born in Poland, and who has since become known as “The father of the American cavalry”. He did not live to see the products of his efforts, as he was killed at the age of 34 by grapeshot inflicted during the Siege of Savannah in October of 1779.

The song lyrics do not mention Casimir Pulaski Day by name. The story’s timeline culminates March 1st, which is referred to in the song as “the holiday”.

Miss Davis has generously offered this recording as a free gift to the world, downloadable from her band camp site, but, the link in the YouTube description seems to be dead, a possible victim YouTube site formatting changes. The correct link is http://mikaeladavis.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-archives-2011. To download, you will be asked to buy the recording and to “name your price”. Yes, you may name a price of $0.00, but if you did that you would be so riddled with guilt that you won’t get any sleep for at least a month. Please show this brilliant young lady some proper appreciation.

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