Song #2: Glacier Baby


Glacier Baby
By Jon Mirin and Carrie Ferguson

I may be cold and old and moving slow
I may be white and thick and got a ways to go
If you walk on me you might find fleas
Or Polar bears and seals or arctic seas

And when I left, I carved the mountains
And when I left, I carved the hills
And when I left, I carved the valleys
I left the rocks and clay, it lies there still
I left the rocks and clay, they call it til

I May be below zero celsius
I may be below 32 fahrenheit
I covered this whole valley, I covered Canada
My ice was everywhere sparkling white

And when I left, I carved the mountains
And when I left, I carved the hills
And when I left, I carved the valleys
I left the rocks and clay, it lies there still
I left the rocks and clay, they call it til

I’m a glacier baby, keep me around for you
I keep the world cool so just say thank you
Don’t count me out don’t let me get melted down
I keep the world cool, you need me around
I keep the world cool, you need me around
I keep the world cool, you need me around

Glacier Baby is a track off of the album Piti Theatre’s Greatest Hits, Vol. I, which will be coming out in CD form in March 2018.  This song is part of a “play with songs” written a few years ago by Piti Theatre director, Jon Mirin, and performed with third graders at the Ryan Road School in Northampton, MA.  The lyrics were written by Jon, with some additions and edits by me.  I wrote the music and recorded it with Garrett Sawyer at Northfire Studios in Amherst, MA.

I’ll say more about Piti Theatre and my ongoing collaboration with them, as well as our “greatest hits”  project, in a later post.  Right now I wanted to post this song because of what is going on, or maybe is about to go on in Alaska.

It doesn’t seem to be getting talked about a lot, but the big tax bill that just passed in the U.S. Congress, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, includes a sneaky little clause that allows for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Northern Alaska.

At 19 million acres,  ANWR is the largest expanse of protected wilderness in the US and is home to polar bears, migrating birds, caribou and the McCall Glacier. The question of whether or not to drill for oil in this pristine wilderness has been a partisan controversy for decades.  Unfortunately, the Republicans have finally succeeded, at least on paper for the time being.  For more about ANWR and oil drilling, check out this wikipedia article.  For more about efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, check out the organization Defenders.

Besides the inevitable damage to wildlife and habitat that comes with drilling, there’s the larger question of Fossil Fuel usage and its roll in contributing to global warming.  For more about this, check out this Global Warming FAQ sheet by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Earth is currently comprised of 10% ice in the form of glacial ice sheets and icebergs. Glaciers are shrinking world wide, which is both the result of climate change, and a contributing factor.   When this ice melts, not only do sea levels rise, but the chemical make up of the sea water is changed, both of which have negative affects on natural ecosystems and the humans and other creatures that depend on them. And, something else that maybe many of us don’t think about, all that ice is Earth’s natural air-conditioner.  It helps moderate the planet’s temperature.  As it melts, the temperature and weather is drastically altered. For more about this, check out this article from the Extreme Ice Survey website.

Honestly, thinking about global warming terrifies, depresses, and overwhelms me. I feel COMPLETELY POWERLESS. I feel enraged that so many bad decisions have been made, are being made; I feel grief-stricken, paralyzed by hopelessness, unable to do anything, not sure what it is that I would do anyway. And then I judge myself for being whiny, self-absorbed, and passive.  I HATE THESE FEELINGS.  I want these feelings to stop.

But, of course, here’s the thing:  there’s no way around it.  Global warming is happening; things ARE going to change, things are changing.  But who says there is a fixed outcome? What if there IS a more positive future? And what if these feelings are not only normal and unavoidable, but necessary wake up calls in order for us to get there?

I often say to myself   “Well, if there were something obvious I could do or not do, then I would do it.”  But you know what, it turns out there ARE things I can do.  I just don’t do them because I feel hopeless.  My little daily contribution, even participating in larger collective actions to fight the greedy powers that be, feels futile and pointless.  It is much easier to collapse into despair.

Hey, I know this is not a new revelation, but, what if EVERY DAY, EVERYBODY did their little individual thing, or participated in a big collective thing, to fight global warming?  THAT would be a movement, right?  That is really what it is going to take.

If we’re all paralyzed by these feelings of despair, that’s not going to happen.  There’s no way around these feelings.  We have to actually FEEL them and move through it and then we have to change our behavior.  And keep doing it.

Here’s a list of 35 things we can do every day to help fight global warming.

For resources, inspiration and support in transforming feelings about global warming and other environmental threats, I suggest checking out the brilliant work of Joanna Macey and her organization.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!  What do you think about all this stuff?  What different things are you doing to save energy and stop global warming?


Catch and Release; Song #1: Binoculars


Welcome to Catch and Release, a blog featuring my original songs, lyrics, art, and writing, with guest songwriters/artists every now and then.

The first song is  called Binoculars, and is from my collection in progress, Carrick Thistle and the Certainties (more about Carrick Thistle later).  It’s a January love song, pining away for and looking ahead to warmer days and the freedom of less clothing.  Lyrics are at the end of this post.

Binoculars – Carrie Ferguson 2014                                                                                       Album: Carrick Thistle and the Certainties                                                                          Recorded with Garage Band

Here’s how this blog will work:

Every week I will post a new entry featuring an original song of mine (or occasionally by someone else), along with a brief story, and art or a picture.  Over  time I will incrementally,  one week at a time, be creating several different playlists or albums.  It will be like gradually releasing >4 different albums all at the same time.  All songs will be available for immediate streaming and “set-your-own-price” download.

Some of these songs will be fully produced and recorded in a professional studio.  Some of them will be simple recordings;  some will be home-recorded demos.  Some of these songs will be rather old, some will be quite new.

Why a Song Blog?

I have been writing songs since my teens, performing since my early twenties.  I’ve also written and co-written  songs/music for over eight “musical plays” with Piti Theatre.  I’ve released only two full-length CDs, plus two EPs with my former band, Plump.  That means that I still have A LOT of unreleased music, and more all the time.  Some of it is stuff that I’ve performed live, some of it is stuff that has never seen the light of day.  I really want to get this music out into the world.

I feel ready to take a break from my previous model of investing a bunch of money in recording a fancy album and then trying to promote it on a shoestring budget, competing with other better-funded artists for media reviews, radio/online airplay, etc.  I haven’t enjoyed that process in the past and I haven’t had much luck with it.  Also, I’ve noticed that my original motivation for writing/recording music in the first place (I love it!)  always gets highjacked by worrying about what people think, who has listened to it, what they’ve said, and which DJs/Stations have played it, etc.

What do I mean by Catch and Release?

“Catch and Release” is my motto for getting the tunes out there instead of holding on to them and waiting for “enough money to make a decent record”, the perfect moment, arrangement, etc. I like these songs and I want them to go out into the world and be heard and enjoyed.  If they resonate, people can share them.

Also some other things this blog will probably end up being about:

The “songwriting process”, specifically, MY songwriting process.  The challenge of promoting one’s own art.  The challenge of being an artist in today’s world, the challenge of being human in today’s world (not that either has EVER been easy at any time).  Gender identity.  Queerness.  Food.  Nature.  Saving the planet.  Feelings.  Relationships.  Spirit.  Healing.  Balancing playfulness and SERIOUSNESS.

Thanks for reading/listening!  I hope this will be an interactive project.  I welcome your thoughts and comments!