Lisbon, Portugal. January 2019
We were barreling down the freeway heading towards the Lisbon airport. It was cold, it was five a.m. and the taxi interior was illuminated by the eerie orange glow of the overhead sodium streetlights. Our family had been on vacation for the best part of a month, mainly in Spain, and had been surprised by the amount of songs on the radio sung in English.
There was almost no conversation happening in the car so when the familiar whistling in the introduction to Wind Of Change came on early morning Portugal radio there was room for listening and contemplation.
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away (dream away)
In the wind of change
My mind went back to when it was first released in the early 1990s. At that time there were huge political changes happening in Eastern Europe. Germany had re-united and ‘glasnost’ was occurring elsewhere. I remember reading about why the Scorpions, from Germany, had written a song referring to the Moskva River and Gorky Park in Moscow. They were the first hard rock band to play in Russia and, after playing in Russia the first time, they returned to play a festival in Moscow and the vibe from the crowd was so good that they were inspired to write what became Germany’s highest selling song. Wind Of Change.
However, all that song-meaning aside, I was getting a bit sentimental. Sitting next to me in the back seat of the taxi was my 17 year old son Liam and there was change happening in his life. While we were away he got notification of his university offer. On this holiday Heather and I were seeing him become more and more independent, speaking his mind and expressing his opinions. Hearing this song made me think that it wasn’t that long ago when we would be walking hand in hand, or I’m pushing him on the swing in the park, or having a kick of the footy out on the street or even dropping him off on his first day of high school. Now, here he sits as a fine young man and dreaming away of his own future. His wind of change.
Perhaps it was because we were on the other side of the world, closer to the places where the song and its content would have been far more significant and relevant than back in Australia, that it edged a new memory for me.
Perhaps it was because of my feelings for, and memories of Liam that holiday, that the song made a new connection to his growing up and made me ponder his new challenges.
With my own two children, and with others I know, the degrees and velocity of life change is as varied as the examples on the Beaufort scale. For some the change is slow, gentle and gradual. For some it is stormy. For some it was a mighty change, like a blustery southerly after a hot northerly.
Wind of change.