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Bill Had it Right

“City of the Angels”, Bill Withers. 1976

I woke up with the song in my head, like a premonition.

“City of the Angels, Clear your cloudy skies for me. I heard you got some places, That I oughtta see.”

I thought about what the song must mean to him, a West Virginia native, writing about Los Angeles, CA, headed to Douglas Aircraft to work on planes, fresh from the nine year stint he did in the Navy.

I then thought about how many people, families can relate to that story, to this song. Heading out west to start a different life. Even if they didn’t head this direction to carve out their dreams like Bill. Many did, but many were just in search of notions we may take for granted: opportunity and change.

“Eastern cities move too fast, Southern ones too slow. I can’t go back to my past, And I need a place to grow.”

 I dwelled upon what made this song so touching to me. And I recalled a concept that meant so much, but as of late I, we’ve maybe misplaced: Hope.

I miss it. And we need it.

I got out of my car, after finding parking. In Venice Beach. On a Monday. A sunny Monday. That’s street cleaning day here in case my punctuation isn’t doing the job. #captainobvious

As I got out of the car and started my 10 minute walk to work, I played the song again. Only to be surprised by the dancing flight of tens of butterflies, orange fluttering flowers floating by me left and right, in front and behind. I just walked in awe, the perfect soundtrack playing in my pocket, taking in the beauty, the streets of Venice looking a little cleaner in the sunlight and wonder of this awesome moment.

Insert metaphor about change and transition here. And the notable similarity between the migration of these painted ladies we are all reveling in on social media right now, and that of persons of all colors, walks of life to the West coast, searching for the better.

Obvious? Yes. But beautiful? Truly stunning? Absolutely.

According to Legend, Bill Withers still resides in the surrounding Los Angeles area. I hope the traffic still hasn’t gotten to him either.

Staring’ at the painted ladies ‘round L.A.

Sounds like a Bill line right there.

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