The Great Canadian Road Trip: Song #26/250: Song For A Winter’s Night by Gordon Lightfoot

If I could give you just one indicator that would prove that my life is blessed, the following statement would be it. Counting this calendar year, I have been alive for 59 Christmases and have been fortunate enough to be with those I love for every single one. There has not been one single instance where I had to leave members of my family to be anywhere else except with them. There has never been an instance where any member of my family has had to leave me behind and travel far away at that special time of year. As a child, I was always with my mother and father and sister until such time as I met my wife, who then became my new family. I have been surrounded by love and companionship and good cheer and warm hearts my entire life. This is especially true at Christmas time.

But, as many of you have experienced for yourself, there are no guarantees in life that we get to be with the ones we love at the exact moment of our choosing. For some people, family reunions have to be delayed because of inclement weather. Some people can’t have their loved ones by their side due to medical reasons. Have you ever been to a hospital on Christmas Day? It is, beyond any exaggeration, one of the saddest places you will ever find. A third common reason for loved ones to be apart on Christmas Day is simply due to having to work. While Christmas Day is a very special day to share with your family, the world still has to function…medical staff still treat those who are ill; firefighters stand guard at their stations; energy workers keep the electricity flowing, and soldiers remain at the ready in peacekeeping bases around the world. They leave their loved ones behind in order to perform the jobs that allow the rest of us to bask in the warm glow of the holiday season with those we love by our side. We owe these folks a debt of gratitude that cannot be easily repaid.

A very young Gordon Lightfoot and the woman who inspired today’s song, Brita Olaisson.

One song that best captures the longing associated with being away from a loved one is the 1967 Gordon Lightfoot tune, “Song For A Winter’s Night”. Believe it or not, but “Song For A Winter’s Night” is yet another famous song laden with references to chilly nights and snowy vistas that was actually written in the dead of summer. *(The same holds true for “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey). Not only that, but Gordon Lightfoot was not even in Canada when he penned the lyrics to this song…he was in Cleveland, Ohio! The story is that Gord was touring through the United States and had to leave his then girlfriend Brita Olaisson behind in Canada. After being separated for a lengthy amount of time, Gord began to yearn for the arms of his beloved, so he wrote her a song that ended up being not only a love song to her but to Canada as well.

Sarah McLachlan and her Wintersong EP.

“Song For A Winter’s Night” was a hit for Gordon Lightfoot, but it has also been covered with great success by numerous other Canadian artists, such as Sarah McLachlan, Blue Rodeo and hometown favourites, The Good Lovelies. The imagery contained within the lyrics of this song make it a beautiful song to listen to regardless of the voice doing the singing. Loneliness and longing are not bound by gender. The joy of love and the pain and emptiness of separation are felt equally by all of us with hearts that beat. So, as the Christmas season draws near, my wish for each of you is to love and be loved and that the ones you love the most are by your side on Christmas Day.

The link to the video for the song “Song For A Winter’s Night” by Gordon Lightfoot can be found here. ***Lyrics video can be found here.

The link to the official website for Gordon Lightfoot can be found here.

The link to the video for the song “Song For A Winter’s Night” by Sarah McLachlan can be found here. ***Lyrics video is here.

The link to the official website for Sarah McLachlan can be found here.

Gordon Lightfoot was born in Orillia, Ontario. So, the link to the official website of Orillia, Ontario can be found here.

***As always, all original content contained within this blog remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2022

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

5 thoughts on “The Great Canadian Road Trip: Song #26/250: Song For A Winter’s Night by Gordon Lightfoot”

  1. You were fortunate indeed. My Dad , a military man , spent many Christmas mornings or eves working . The hardest though was when he was a member of UNEF , peacekeeper in Egypt in 1964 . He was away for a year . But he sent the most amazing gifts that Christmas.
    Sad but wonderful memories ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was there in 1967. I have been here in this world ever since. I have never heard this song even once, not sung by anyone. As far as I know, it never reached Winnipeg, or at least it didn’t get any airplay there. I wonder why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are correct. Such a beautiful, heartfelt piece of music. As for Gord, I don’t know how he does it at his age or what he sounds like but, good for him. I hope that I am still as active when year 84 comes for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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