Listen to the horn arrangements in “And It Stoned Me” by Van Morrison. They’re just perfect. So is the imagery. It evokes a summer day’s magic for anyone fortunate enough to have experienced that.
Half a mile from the county fair And the rain keep pourin’ down Me and Billy standin’ there With a silver half a crown Hands are full of fishin’ rod And the tackle on our backs We just stood there gettin’ wet With our backs against the fence…
Then the rain let up and the sun came up And we were gettin’ dry Almost let a pick-up truck nearly pass us by So we jumped right in and the driver grinned And he dropped us up the road We looked at the swim and we jumped right in Not to mention fishing poles
Once I spent a week in Napa Valley wine tasting with one of my best friends from high school. The sunny afternoon I remember best is when we set off down the road to find a vineyard. Rolling fields of grape-heavy vines spread out on our right. An occasional car whooshed past. The sun beat down on our backs. Ah the wine. It tasted cool like we stowed it in a mountain stream.
I think of that day when I hear “And It Stoned Me.”
Also the scene in The Sun Also Rises where Jake and Bill are out fishing on the Iruna:
I found the two wine bottles in the pack, and carried them up the road to where the water of a spring flowed out of an iron pipe. There was a board over the spring and I lifted it and, knocking the corks firmly into the bottles, lowered them down into the water. It was so cold my hand and wrist felt numbed. I put back the slab of wood, and hoped nobody would find the wine…
Bill put the trout in the bag and started for the river, swinging the open bag. He was wet from the waist down and I knew he must have been wading the stream.
I walked up the road and got the two bottles of wine. They were cold. Moisture beaded on the bottles as I walked back to the trees. I spread the lunch on a newspaper, and uncorked one of the bottles and leaned the other against a tree. Bill came up drying his hands, his bag plump with ferns.
“Let’s see that bottle,” he said. He pulled the cork, and tipped up the bottle and drank. “Whew! That makes my eyes ache.”
“Let’s try it.”
The wine was icy cold and tasted faintly rusty.
“That’s not such filthy wine,” Bill said.
“The cold helps it,” I said.
The last verse of “And It Stoned Me”:
On the way back home we sang a song But our throats were getting dry Then we saw the man from across the raod With the sunshine in his eyes Well he lived all alone in his own little home With a great big gallon jar There were bottle too, one for me and you And he said, “Hey! There you are.”
Oh the water.