I’m sad tonight to learn that we have lost a beautiful soul in the world of music.
Johnny Nash passed away at the age of 80. His legendary song of hope, “I can See Clearly Now,” is my favorite song. It has never failed to bring a smile to my face and a feeling of deep gratitude and happiness the countless times I’ve listened to it.
The words, the music, the singer — this song has everything. It was Number 1 for four weeks in the summer of 1972, a year that was pivotal and unforgettable for me, as the following Spring I graduated from college as an English major and was on the cusp of experiencing the best years of my life in the ensuing decade of the 1970s and early 1980s.
It was in the fall of 1972 that I found my first apartment and didn’t have to live in the dorm my senior year of college. You can’t imagine how happy I was after looking all summer for just the right place. I found it in a small, furnished one-bedroom apartment two miles from campus. It had a tiny living room, bedroom and kitchen. The kitchen had a big window fan to draw in fresh air from the outside down the hall to cool me off as I prepared my first ever home-cooked meals (hamburger patty and frozen corn, boiled up just right). There was a small window unit air conditioner in the bedroom next to my single bed, which was a bit noisy, but did the job in the stifling heat of the afternoons. I loved the big, ancient, beat up sofa in the living room, which exhaled clouds of dust whenever I plopped down on it. It had a small narrow front porch just wide enough for me to sit outside for awhile after I few tired of studying. The rent was cheap , too.
I still carried terrible memories of a rather traumatic first year of college in 1969-70, but by Autumn of the golden year 1972, I was happy and content. I had a heavy load of courses for the Fall and Spring semester, but that bothered me not at all.
As I lay in bed reading one of many novels for my English lit courses, I can recall listening to the beautiful words and melody of “I can See Clearly Now,” playing on the radio. All was right with the world.
As this surreal and frightening year of the pandemic enters its ninth month, we need Johnny Nash’s song more than ever.
I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day…