It’s pledge time once again, folks – and so we come to you with hat and flowers in hand to ask for your support. Read on to see how you can help Cover Lay Down serve its core mission, and come away with our eternal appreciation, and a bouquet of floral coverfolk sure to thrill the senses.
Traditionally the last Sunday service before a Universalist Unitarian parish moves to a lay-led summer, the Flower Communion celebrates the contributory nature of the UU community by bringing the blooming world into the church at its last, and then letting it go back out again as we ourselves turn to the world of social justice and peace-making. The beauty and diversity of life – of our own, and of the land – is present in the rich cornucopia of the green-stemmed bounty. And by bringing flowers from our own gardens, and then taking home those of another, we pay tribute to the found and foraged nature of our practice, and of our spiritual selves.
The ritual is easily explicable: we all bring flowers, and by midservice, the dais is covered with color and scent – an even mix of found and wild sources, and the cultivated and garden-born, reflecting the organic mix of seeds and sprouts that comprise the source-cobbled praxis of our “faith where we find it.” We bless the flowers, and ourselves, and line up to pick a single stalk or clustered bloom to take with us for the summer; we sing a song of the spirit, and drift off into the fellowship hall for cake and summer goodbyes, flowers in hand and fellowship in hearts.
It’s nice to have a ritual that reminds us of the way our tiny lives are part of the passing of the seasons, their beauty ours, and their bounty shared. And as it is in church, so it is here: our little space on the web is not merely a published sequence of song, but a shared nexus of give-and-take, the songs themselves flowing back and forth through us, making us whole, and making us one. A music blog, too, is a communion, as is the experience of listening we give to each other.
I wrote the above in 2010, and the sentiment stands: I love the Flower Communion, and the way it serves as a metaphor for the communion of folk and the folk of communion. But this Sunday morning, the dynamic new change-agent minister with the ear for infrastructure reminded me of the second symbolic exchange inherent in this ritual – the taking of the communal flowers, and the way they represent how we carry the community with us into our lives. And I am minded afterwards: communion requires sharing and accepting the gifts that community brings.
And so we come to you, as we do occasionally, to pass the collections plate, that we might sustain ourselves a little better in the coming months.
I’ve said it before: Cover Lay Down remains ad-free and artist-centric, but paying for private server space to serve this community at its current scale isn’t free. I find myself often reluctant to come right out and ask for donations, especially this time of year, when my busyness outside these virtual walls peaks, but the coffers are bone-dry, and the bills due; as it is in any community, so it is with this one: without you, Cover Lay Down is nothing. The blog itself, with its mixed-bag cornucopia of blooms, thrives because we all come to put ourselves in, and if it offers you just one hundredth of the strength and joy it sustains for its author, then our investment is well-served, indeed, and I am grateful for any gift you can give in sustaining us through the summer.
If you’d like to donate to Cover Lay Down, just click the button below – we take PayPal and credit cards, and every penny goes to server costs and filesharing, that we may continue to serve our mandate to connect fans and artists through song, and in doing so, help do our part to ensure that folk, acoustic, and roots music remains vibrant and alive.
In return, we offer our eternal thanks, the warm satisfaction of the community supporter and patron, the continued recreation of the community itself, and our shoulders ever at the wheel of folk itself, working for its eternal viability.
For my part, I can note only that the long struggle to stay current in the midst of inevitable life-chaos ends in June, as it always does. Going into summer provides more opportunity to populate these pages; schoolteachers can stay up later in the warm month, and their time is, if not entirely leisurely, then at least more flexible, and less dense; neither church nor choir flag my fortune as they feed the soul.
And so the liminal period that is summer comes, its arrival marked by the dual dispersement of school and congregation. We stretch, and sink into our chairs; we sleep late, and share, and are merry, at our very best. And the flowers bloom all summer. And the music never ends.
Flower Communion Coverfolk (2010)
- Tish Hinojosa: Festival of Flowers (pop. Pete Seeger)
(from Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs Of Pete Seeger, 1998)
- The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Wildwood Flower (pop. The Carter Family)
(from Will The Circle Be Unbroken, 1972)
- Lisa Loeb: Love Is A Rose (orig. Neil Young)
(from Camp Lisa, 2008)
- Redbird: Love Is A Rose (orig. Neil Young)
(from Redbird, 2004)
- Laura Cantrell: When The Roses Bloom Again (orig. Carter Family)
(from When The Roses Bloom Again, 2002)
More Flower Communion Coverfolk (2013)
- Slaid Cleaves: White Rose (orig. Fred Eaglesmith)
(from The Songs of Fred Eaglesmith: A Tribute, 2003)
- Madeline Ava: King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1 (orig. Neutral Milk Hotel)
(from In The Aeroplane Under The Sea (Except Not Really), 2009)
- Neutral Uke Hotel: King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1 (orig. Neutral Milk Hotel)
(from Neutral Uke Hotel, 2010)
- Heidi Talbot w/ Tim O’Brien: When The Roses Come Again (orig. Carter Family)
(from Angels Without Wings, 2013)
- Little Wolf & Casey Hartnett: Where The Wild Roses Grow (orig. Nick Cave)
(from Dig, Cave, Dig, 2011)
- Rayna Gellert: Fatal Flower Garden (trad.)
(from Old Light: Songs From My Childhood & Other Gone Worlds, 2012)
Thanks, all, for everything you bring to this space: for your eyes and ears, and your hearts, and your comments; for liking us on Facebook, so that others might come; for the support you bring each artist, and for even considering lending your financial support to this little folk-lovin’ corner of the web. And just as the communities you love benefit from your gifts, may you take from their bounty, and carry them with you.