Song Series: Across the Universe

Song Series: Across the Universe

Cover of “Across the Universe,” by John Lennon
Vocals: June • Guitar: Rob • Chirping: local crickets

Queen Anne’s Lace and surprise fireworks. Both photos taken on a writing retreat at Prospect Street Writers House in Bennington, VT

I used to share music here regularlyjust humble home recordings alongside little reflective essays—and I don’t know why I stopped. Pandemic, I guess? (77 weeks as a working-from-home mama? Revising my novel before sunrise, lesson planning at night?Chaotic mélange of working/parenting in between?)

But I was still singing and noodling around with my viola all that time, and I still am. With friends around a backyard fire. With my husband playing guitar, when the kids are in bed.  Quotidian singing: alone and sweeping, cooking, weeding. Solo road trips. Running errands.

99% of the time, singing is something I do just for love. For the private pleasure of myself & my beloveds. Having things like that is good for the soul, I think.


Lately I find myself singing “Across the Universe.”

I’m not sure why. Maybe it just makes me happy? My dad used to play it on his guitar when I was very young; I liked the imagery of the paper cup and the letterbox. I still do.

At this moment in my life, I also like the way this song feels like I’m stepping into a river of prayer. I love when a song makes me feel like I’m sitting in the lap of the Divine. Jai guru deva om. 

The only line I get stuck at, always, is Nothing’s going to change my world.

Same beach, different seasons • North Shore Long Island

I mean—aaahhhhh! everything changes! Always! Every single thing is a library book, lent to us only to be given back eventually. Friendships surge and recede. Work and ideas go from seed to sprout to bloom, and sometimes even fruit, if we’re lucky; and then the fruit gets eaten and the cycle starts over.

My boy—who was a doe-eyed ten-year-old at the start of the pandemic—now towers over me at 5’10” with a voice like a 50-gallon drum.

Change and change. New crops of youthful humans. The newest crop always believing they’re inventing the first true iteration of sex and style and righteousness, and then, if they’re lucky, they reach the dreaded age of Old and discover otherwise.

My loved ones will die and I will die, and one of us will be left at the end without all the others.


How do I frame that line in my mind, so it feels true when I sing it?

Nothing’s going to change my world.

What doesn’t change?

For as long as I’m still breathing… maybe Love is a good answer?

A long-ago friend described me once, a little wryly, by saying “June loves everything“; and I don’t love everything (organ meats; forced chit-chat with other parents at child-centric events; the prison industrial complex… this list could get long) but it’s true I love a lot of people, and I love them so deeply.  And also this world full of chlorophyll and nimbus clouds and tides. Letterboxes and the letters that arrive in them. Melody, harmony, labyrinths. What it feels like to breathe.

Loving people & places & things with such ferocity can be painful, because people & places & things come and go, and nothing replaces them. Nothing fills the hole left by someone or something you loved in a specific way.

But I’ve never gotten tired of finding new things to love. A Queen Anne’s Lace springs up by the roadside—blossoms, then browns, then returns to the soil. You get ready for bed and hear the sudden thunder of fireworks, and there it is in the sky—the same shape in a new place.

Love to you, too,

🌕 🌖 🌗 🌘 🌑
PS Extra love to this one, guitarist on this recording, and my partner in music & life for many many moons now
🌑 🌒 🌓 🌔 🌕















One Reply to “Song Series: Across the Universe”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *