“Oh lay down your burden
Lay it all down
Pass the glass between you
Drink it up
Place the light before you
Come through the door
The dragon doesn’t live here anymore
Sing with the choirs that surround you
And dance to music in your soul
Look into the eyes that really see you
Place all that you have into that bowl
Rejoice for the love that brought you near us
Set sail unto the ocean of your dreams
And do not fear the night or wandering weepers
Just listen to the voice that calls to you
That all these tales of paradise are true ”
– Colleen Williams
These are the lyrics from the song, Lay Down Your Burden, on the Paul Winter Consort album, Common Ground. This album came out at the end of 1977 when I was working at a recording studio in NYC. On the album Paul’s saxophone mingles with the sounds of whales, wolves and eagles. This music soothed my soul and made me long for a different life, a quieter life than I was living.
I credit this album with inspiring me to move to Vermont in 1981. A short time later at a tiny town hall in Massachusetts I went to see the Paul Winter Consort live. At the end of the performance he turned off the lights and played along to the recorded animal and bird sounds from the Common Ground album.
In that darkness I danced to the music in my soul because I knew in that moment, beyond any doubt, my journey to lay down my burden had truly begun.
Paul Winter’s music awakens people to the music within themselves. ”All animals express themselves, not just the ones that have taken lessons,” he said. “The motto I love about that was said by Henry David Thoreau: ‘That the woods would be silent if the only birds that sang were the ones that sang the best.