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My East Don Days

“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder


My East Don Days

Words & Music © Mike Ford 2017


For a while as a boy I lived on the valley side

Where the ferns unwound and the salmon spawned one day

By the shallow swirlin waters of the East Don


You could overturn a rock and see where the crawdad hide

If you turned up enough rocks in the muddy clay

In the shallow swirlin waters of the East Don


And you could jump and you could hop from rock to shaky rock

And like a runnin spy make your way

Across the shallow swirlin waters of the East Don


But one miscue of a hop and you'd be gone

Never to be seen again they say

Til supper time still soakin from the shallow swirlin waters of the East Don


At dusk the pheasants cooed - and I'd a watchful attitude

I'd hide among the trees from the enemy

In the camouflage of trees - in the camouflage of trees


Then I'd lie in bed an hear the poplar song

An' the oak and chestnut tree that held a place for me

By the shallow swirlin waters of the East Don

Yeah the shallow swirlin’ waters of the East Don


Writing about place.  Echoes without and echoes within.

Where is that place inside you.

I feel an endless connection with the ravines and valleys of this city.  Because from age 6 to 18 I knew no better place.

In my case, the valleys I knew were just north of the city limits.  Suburban valleys, suburban ravines.  And the ravines and valleys were where everything happened.  Everything that mattered.  Especially, close to where I lived, the East Don.

And walking along Todmorden's creek one day I realized I was walking along waters that were those very waters, 10 kilometres south south east.  And I realized why I felt so at home.

So this song is a memory song.  Memories that live whenever I hear the valley's waters flow. 

Song Ideas

  • Do you remember a favourite spot from your younger days?  Draw a simple map of it. Make each part of your map the verse of a song, and in the chorus declare why that spot was so special.
  • Take a special place in your younger life - has it changed?  Create a Then & Now list - perhaps the verses could be all 'Now' descriptions, and the chorusabout how you remember it....or vise-versa!
  • Create a song that designs a special place: My Perfect Town (each verse a different part); My Perfect Home (each verse a different room); The Perfect Forest, etc