The story goes that Johnny Cash visited Ireland and, as the plane approached Shannon airport he noticed the fields below and their green colour – he noticed too that there were shades of green, forty he concluded! and on return to America wrote the lovely song that tells of some of the places he visited and the memories that remain. I think it’s a lovely song – simple but lovely – and I like to share it with people. Admittedly Johnny Cash does a much better job than I!! I know, hard to believe isn’t it …..
I have used the lyrics and message of this song at weddings a few times. I think it is a reminder that we make our own map from the memories we create and tell our story from those memories. A few years ago, I sang this song at a wedding reception in Castlebar – a young couple Michael and Ita – and I thought that was pretty much it. Ita brought me a card from her honeymoon – an aerial photograph of a green field with a heart shaped patch of green (in another shade) and told me when she saw the card she remembered “our song”. I put the card on my bookcase and noticed it from time to time. Sadly Ita died suddenly about two months ago so the card and the memory have a totally deeper meaning now. Whenever I hear the song, or even try to sing it, I remember her and pray for her husband, three children and family. I have shared it with other couples too and each time it has a different meaning. I think that’s the way it should be. Forty Shades of Green and Inifinte Shades of meaning.
Songs are poweful tools and their lyrics and impact run deep.