Sunday, January 07, 2007


Yesterday was Epiphany and I listened to one of my favorite Christmas CDs one last time before putting all of them away until next year. It's by Michael Martin Murphy and called Cowboy Christmas. If you like Cowboy or Western Music you will love it. It truly is one of my favorites.

Corn, Water and Wood, one cut on the album, stands out as one I can listen to again and again. I take the song as a reference to the Magi but in a current time and a Southwestern setting.

It's the recollection of a Cowboy who's out gathering strays on Christmas Eve and while chasing one particularly recalcitrant calf, late in the night and tired as can be, half asleep or possibly halucinating, he stumbles upon three figures, masked and on horseback, singing:

We seek the soul, of all that is good,
We come bearing Corn, Water and Wood,
Stop and behold, all that is good,
Give thanks for the Corn, Water and Wood.

There's more to the piece than that, but I'm taken by the Corn, Water and Wood imagery. Here in the Southwest on the Prairie or in High Country, and yes Texas does count as the Southwest, one wouldn't have much use for gold, frankincense and myrrh. But alone, on horseback, late at night there's nothing a Cowboy with a lost calf could use more than corn, water and wood. In the song, what was seen as being three horsemen morphs into three real Pueblo children tending their sheep, who roundup the stray and bring him back to the rider. Subsequently they become the singers of the refrain.

I'm trying to figure out what haunts me so about this song and I believe it's how in listening I become mindful of the importance of the gifts brought to the Christ Child by the Magi. They were gifts of a nature that would serve Him later. As are the gifts brought by the Pueblo children to the rider's stray. Or maybe it's the part about "Stop and behold, all that is good."

Quien sabe?

I found a free copy of it by another artist here. If you have more internet savvy that I, you might be able to play the Michael Martin Murphy track free here.

Merry Christmas, y'all.


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