From the recording The Sun's Coming Over the Hill
From the CD "Cathedral of Memory"
In 1985/86 I attended a Jesuit institution of higher learning in Kansas City, Missouri called Rockhurst College (now University.) Among the degree requirements were a few hours of both theology (the search for religious truth via reason) and philosophy (the search for universal truth via reason.) One of my first classes was called “Four Questions on Persons” taught by Fr. W. L. La Croix., S.J wherein I was introduced to a work by the French philospher Albert Camus called “The Myth of Sisyphus.”
In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king who offended the gods by thinking himself their equal by reporting and commenting on the sexual indiscretions of Zeus. As a punishment for his hubris, Zeus ordered Thanatos to chain Sisyphus in Tartarus. Sisyphus, however, tricked Thanatos into chaining himself, thus making it so that no mortal could actually die. As a further punishment for his trickery, Sisyphus was forced to push a giant boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down into a valley and begin again the next day.
One of the things that Fr. La Croix argued was that in his writing, Camus suggests that the single, great philosophical question that pertains to humanity is whether or not to commit suicide. We all, either tacitly or explicitly, answer that question every day, much as Sisyphus does. If we continue to live we have decided that there is something to live for.
This song reminds me of that and, despite the heavy context, is a happy song. My friend William Morris provides backing vocals.
Six rain-laden summers and she still had an eye for meShe’d kiss me each evening and told me she’d die for meThen she ran off the road full of whiskey and ironyShe always meant what she said
So I took to the whiskey so I could recallThe taste of her mouth on my mouth, that’s allAnd I tried the same trick with a truck but it stalledThe engine was better off dead
RefrainOh, oh the nights are longBut life is longer stillOh, oh the nights are longBut the sun’s coming over the hill
The taste never left me, I don’t guess it willAnd it caused me to supplement whiskey with pillsBut there was something inside of me that I couldn’t killBelieve me, I really did try
There’s some say you get what you deserve but they’re wrongSometimes you just get what you’re given and then it’s all goneSometimes it’s enough to be sufficiently strongTo daily decide not to die
I can’t say there’s many things that I wouldn’t changeThere’s better times gone than those that remainBut I can find joy in the sound of the rainYou have to find joy where you can