A-to-Z Challenge 2023 – W is for Willie Nelson – Resilience in Songs #atozchallenge #songs

The 2023 A-to-Z blogging challenge theme is resilience. Resilience is the ability to get back on our feet and keep going after life knocks us down and kicks sand in our faces. Resilience is how the psyche survives and copes, but resilience doesn’t necessarily wear a cape of positivity.

The 26 songs I’ve chosen show us, musically, what resilience looks (sounds?) like. I’ll offer a reflection of the resilience in each song. The songs are alphabetical by the artist’s first name or the group’s name, except for M, O, U, and X.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter W

W is for Willie Nelson and Hello, Walls.

Hello, Walls is an American country music song written by Willie Nelson. Faron Young was the first to record and release it in January of 1961. The song was a huge success for both of them. The song went to No. 1 for Young on country music charts and then remained charted for 23 weeks. The song kickstarted Nelson’s career as a country music artist. 

water dew on clear glass sliding window during daytimeHello, Walls tells the story of a man whose lover / wife / significant other, take your pick, has left him, and there’s a hint that it wasn’t an unexpected jilting.

She went away and left us all alone
The way she planned
Guess we’ll have to learn to get along
Without her if we can
Don’t you miss her
Since she up and walked away?
Aren’t you lonely
Since our darlin’ disappeared?

Unexpected jilting or out-of-the-blue departure, this guy is practically down and out. He’s so despondent that his only solace is in talking ‘at’ the walls, window, and ceiling of the room he’s in.

Hello walls,
How’d things go for you today?

Hello window
Well, I see that you’re still here

Hello ceiling,
I’m gonna stare at you a while

His mental state is slowly slipping into depression.

And I’ll bet you dread to spend
Another lonely night with me
But lonely walls, I’ll keep you company

Well, look here, is that a teardrop
In the corner of your pane?
Now don’t you try to tell me that it’s rain

Guess we’ll have to learn to get along
Without her if we can

You know I can’t sleep
So won’t you bear with me awhile?

Does this man have a shred of resilience left? Has he given up on everything in life? Has he lost all purpose for living?

Yes. I think he’s that hopeless. He’s on the ragged edge of nothing left to lose. This is a song of the absence of resilience, or close to the absence of resilience. I’m concerned this guy won’t bounce back. His well of resilience is bone dry. He tells us that this room with the walls, window, and ceiling are his only support system, and that’s not an encouraging indicator that he has the wherewithal to pull himself out of his heartbroken, downward emotional spiral.

We must all stick together or else
I’ll lose my mind
I’ve got a feelin’, she’ll be gone a long, long time

This man telling the walls, window, and ceiling they all have to stick together, because they are all they have, doesn’t make his loneliness any less painful. Just as Forrest Gump observed when Jenny threw rocks at her childhood house that, “Sometimes, I guess, there just aren’t enough rocks”, the physical act of throwing rocks didn’t make her memories any less painful.

The cold hard reality of resilience is sometimes we don’t have enough resilience to sustain us.

An aside: Willie Nelson celebrates his 90th birthday two days from today on April 29th.

*Image – rain on window by Danielle Dolson at Unsplash

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
writing through history one romance upon a time


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