Moon River, wider than a mile,
I’m crossing you in style some day.
Although it’s been played many times in many ways, Moon River is originally from the 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on Truman Capote’s 1958 novella. It is the story of a woman, Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, making her way in the big city. According to www.reelclassics.com, this character has become Audrey Hepburn’s most memorable screen persona.
The DJ played Moon River at a wedding reception last night while the wedding party danced, and a wave of nostalgia swept over me. Maybe it is because it elicited childhood memories—my parents undoubtedly played it on the stereo when I was young.
Or maybe its poignancy lies in the vanishing dream of youth that it portrays.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
Wherever you’re going I’m going your way.
In some ways it should be a joyful, uplifting song. It is about standing on a threshold, with the whole world before you.
Two drifters off to see the world,
There’s such a lot of world to see.
But the tune is not upbeat and joyful. It is a bit contemplative, reminiscent, or perhaps even mournful. Certainly full of yearning.
We’re after the same rainbow’s end—
Waiting ‘round the bend,
My huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.
Now that I’m in the middle of my life, this song takes me back to the day when the whole world lay at my feet. Life was full of possibilities and promise. Maybe I would start a career, find a spouse, have a family. All my own choices to make. And make them I did. Past tense.
When we’re in the middle of our life, we’ve had our children if we’re going to; we’ve made our careers and have either already retired from them, or are planning to as soon as possible.
At this point in my life, I am acutely aware of the passage of time. I don’t recall thinking about that when I was younger. Sure, I watched the clock in high school history class waiting for the minutes to pass when 45 minutes seemed like an eternity. I watched the years pass as we celebrated our childrens’ birthdays year after year. But I don’t think I contemplated the big scheme of things with regard to time. There was always another year, another party, another chance.
Now I know different. Everything is finite. We have a limited number of birthdays to celebrate; a limited number of visits with grandparents, parents, our children; a limited number of days. We’ve already done a lot of the things we set out to do.
We may have a beautiful journey still ahead of us, but we are no longer standing on the banks of Moon River.
We can only hope we’ve lived our life in a way that we will find that rainbow’s end we were after, waiting ‘round the bend.
Moon River, music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, sung by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.