“I Am a Rock” Confessions of a New England Individualist

America (Simon & Garfunkel song)

Image via Wikipedia

I love salty New Englanders!  We all have our own things we’re doing, building, working on, creating, inventing.  But going it on our own, being a maverick, an eagle, can bring some pain!  Paul Simon, a famous songwriter, wrote about the feeling of loneliness that can come with self-sufficiency sometimes in a song called “I Am a Rock”- written in 1965.  Here are the lyrics:

A winter’s day

In a deep and dark December;

I am alone,

Gazing from my window to the streets below

On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I’ve built walls,

A fortress deep and mighty,

That none may penetrate.

I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.

It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,

But I’ve heard the words before;

It’s sleeping in my memory.

I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.

If I never loved I never would have cried.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I have my books

And my poetry to protect me;

I am shielded in my armor,

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.

I touch no one and no one touches me.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.

Now I have to admit that I’ve resonated with Paul Simon’s words in my life, especially in my life before I knew Jesus, and also after. I’ve built walls before, fortresses deep and mighty, that none may penetrate. I’ve thought that I had no need of friendship; because friendship causes pain.

I grew up as an only child in Ohio back in 1981.  My parents had both rebelled against the church- my Mom against the Catholic church, my Dad against the fundamentalist Protestant church he was raised in.  They both raised me to be a very independent thinker, they wanted me to be an entrepreneur and a leader.  They actually hoped I’d be a senator or something like that. They raised me to question all authority and reject institutions and organized religion.

So when I first lived in New England back in 2001- I loved it!  I felt like I fit right in!

And it’s true that we have that mentality up in New England, many of of think that “we are a rock, we are an island”.


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