Bloom Where You’re Planted (Day 194)

Sparklers for 60 Welcome to the 194th post of Project 194! It’s the thirteenth of July, 2015, my sixtieth birthday, and in case you need reminding, I started posting a song a day on this blog back on January 1, at the beginning of the new year. Along the way, I’ve revisited a lot of work from my archives, and it’s been enormously gratifying to reacquaint myself with the projects and artists that have filled my days over the past years. I’ve also continued to create new work, and have shared some of that, including the score for The Brave Little Tailor, which was presented dozens of times in May and June.

It’s only fitting that I wind up this endeavor with an original song, one that appears here for the first time. The phrase “bloom where you’re planted” is one that I hit upon as a potential title years ago; I thought it might belong in A Tiny Miracle, a story about growing and about discovering one’s purpose in life. Later, I thought it might serve in the ending of Leading Lady, since that story ends with Mae’s decision to stay in Philadelphia and try to make a go of things at a modest and dilapidated venue in Kensington called (appropriately enough) the Peoples’ Theater before it is renamed the Desmond Theater. That was the occasion when I began work on this particular tune and the first few lines of the lyric. It was only recently, though, when I was inspired to finish the song, an unexpected gift from my muse whose message serves nicely as an epigram for Project 194.

The last 193 days have reminded me that all sorts of things have bloomed under my stewardship in the past years. D’Arcy is familiar with a certain sigh that I emit each year in early June at the end of the Tony Awards broadcast, a sigh that can be translated as, “Oh well, no Tony for me this year.” Indeed, it is all too easy to dismiss the work that has “devoured my days” (as Brecht’s “The Doubter” puts it) as being of little consequence when measured against the arbitrary standards of Broadway. But this blog contains nearly 200 blooms of creativity, some quirky and misshapen, others elegant and quite fine, each one a reflection of its maker and his collaborators.

I offer a grateful salute to all those who’ve helped me make this work. There are so many who’ve said “yes” to me over the years, “yes” to my proposals and my requests and my (sometimes harebrained) ideas. If you fall into this category, please know that I owe you more than I can ever repay, though this brief song may serve as a credit against the balance due. Leonard Bernstein said, “I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is Yes.” That seems like a fine thought to hold in my heart as I begin my seventh decade. “yes is a pleasant country,” to quote a favorite lowercase bard, e. e. cummings. Yes, I will bloom where I’m planted. Yes.

Bloom where you’re planted
Don’t take the benefits of home for granted.
There’s a grace to be found in a place that you know,
One that helps you grow

So you better mind where your roots are.
That’s where you’ll find the most remarkable fruits are.
Each kind of field has its bounty to yield
If you have faith and dig in.

Everyone should have a chance to roam.
Helps you to appreciate what’s there at home.
If you just can trust what you’re made of,
You’ll find nothing to be afraid of!

Bloom where you’re planted,
Where conditions are the most enchanted.
Though your spot may not seem like a lot,
You’ve got room,
Room enough to zoom!
You should just assume when you’re planted
You’re gonna bloom!

You can have your own special Eden.
All it takes is some care and feedin’ and you’ll
Bloom where you’re planted
Where conditions are the most enchanted.
Though your spot may not seem like a lot,
You’ve got room,
Room enough to zoom!
You should just assume when you’re planted
You’re gonna bloom!

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