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  • Writer's pictureEmma Norton

I'd Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer - Stevie Wonder

This is not a sad post contrary to the depressive lyrics chosen for the graphic.

I'm let's say 16, maybe younger. As noted previously, if you are following along on this sporadic writing journey, I am a film lover and I have shared some of my musical taste thus far on the Weekly Playlist. I was definitely watching things at an impressionable age, but truly I am so glad I did. Most things. Melrose Place probably wasn't a good idea.

The late great John Singleton directed Boys n The Hood, Shaft (which I went to see on my 11th birthday, as a note) Higher Learning, Four Brothers, and more passed last spring and I elected to revisit his films in celebration of his life. He was also the writer and producer on a number of his projects. Given that I have no true comprehension of the grittier and marginalized side of life he often depicted in his work, I always found some way to resonate and that is the magic of his storytelling. 

Now to my favorite of all John Singleton films, Poetic Justice. If you are a Tupac and/or Janet Jackson fan, you will know of the film as they star as the respective Lucky and Justice, star-crossed lovers of sorts. Regina King also plays a key role, along with a number of recognizable actors and included small features by Q-Tip and the poet herself, Maya Angelou.

I always idolized those love-hate relationships in stories. I find that if you can learn to love someone through that tension, you have found your personal pot of gold. It's a big learning expeience toward understanding yourself better. Again, maybe I watched too many soapy shows when I was younger, but that fire builds fortitude in my opinion. 

The song for this week is Stevie Wonder's "I'd Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" off of the Poetic Justice soundtrack (original source Where I'm Coming From, released in 1971.) The bittersweetness of the song aligns with the scene it plays in the movie, if you haven't seen it. 

After watching the film at this point in my life and sharing now, I relate it also to the seasonal changes that liken to the evolution of all of us. Nothing stays the same and we can value the different experiences each season gives us. I see the differences in self and others and I don't mean Seasonal Affective Disorder, but rather how we move around and our priorities change. 

I think summer has the bad rap of being the wildest of seasons because we are given this notion that it is the only season of which we can express our freedom. From students to vacation time, it's like we are on a proverbial lockdown (versus actual 2020 thus far) until summer hits. It's this weird way in which our society has been structured when you think about it. Our 'freedom' is defined for us by imposed timelines.

The depressive nature of the song is representative of that attachment to someone and when they go, we are left devastated. But as I reflect upon the notion of unconditional love, this song reminds me that being attached to a certain 'season' in someone's life or our own, whether good or bad, limits our opportunity for expansion.

If Justice and Lucky didn't let their egoic guards down and elect to see each other in a different light because there was that little glimmer of hope that they saw in one another, the movie would have a very different ending and I would not be talking about it. The transition in their lives caused that intersection and that's the movie for you.

Just as the seasons change, so do people, but as we grow, regardless of where we go, we tend to go back to where feels like home. That is the best way to describe the love story in Poetic Justice and "I'd Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" reminds us to detach from holding yourself or others within the same memory, because there is always room to evolve and trusting in that core resonance. 

You know Frosty melts as we move into spring, but he always comes back next winter, better than ever. 

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