Monday, December 6, 2021

An Enchanted Question leads to more questions

In her newsletter, Sam Horn challenged us with the question
of who the author of this quote was.

 My chest hurts and tears fill my eyes. I feel like I have just lost something very dear, someone I was somehow connected to, and yet, until earlier today, I had never heard his name even though I was familiar with one of his songs: eden ahbez.

To make sense of all of this, listen to this song, “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole.

Click here to listen.

Then think about this comment from Tactictoe 7 years ago

"A song written by a man who lived his adult life outdoors - reportedly under the second L of the HOLLYWOOD sign, no less - a man who refused royalties, preferring to divide them up and hand them to strangers...yes ladies and gentlemen, eden ahbez had the right to write this poem, later adapted into a song...I'm genuinely tearing up to think that there was such a selfless soul out there. You don't hear much about them anymore. But they're out there.

- Should have said in the OP, his name was eden ahbez, and the lack of capitals are intentional, as he didn't believe in capitalising names that weren't righteous IE God."

eden ahbez was part human, part myth ... part adopted-kid from Kansas and part other worldly being drifting in on dandelion fluff, living in a pre-hippies dreamscape. Somewhere along the way, perhaps in a cave, perhaps under the Hollywood sign, he wrote a song. Somehow, in a story worthy of a Horatio Alger novel, he left his song at the feet of the great Nat King Cole and a legend was born. The song became a #1 hit and swept the country and became the crossover song that endeared Nat King Cole to audiences black and white.

This strangely compelling story kept tugging at me and I eventually found an article with another video, a trailer for  a documentary by Brian Chidester,  called As the Wind: the Enchanted Life of Eden Ahbez.

Click here to watch

The article includes a quote from ahbez: “All the money in the world will not change my way of life. Because all the money in the world could not give me the things I already have. Anna and I have learned that nature and a simple life will bring you peace and happiness. We sleep on the ground in sleeping bags in the California mountains and deserts.”

In a different article he is quoted as saying, “I may look crazy but I’m not. Others may not look crazy but they are."

ahbez continued writing and making music, working with many of the greats of his time and died in 1995 at age 86 from a car accident. Just as I was about to stop following this trail, I found a 3-part behind the scenes series on YouTube:

Behind the Scenes of "As the Wind: The Enchanted Life of Eden Ahbez" (Part One)

Behind the Scenes of "As the Wind: The Enchanted Life of Eden Ahbez" (Part Two)
Behind the Scenes of "As the Wind: The Enchanted Life of Eden Ahbez" (Part Three)

And then more:

My chest still aches ... I now know who eden ahbez was and more about his music. I don't, however, know why I feel so much for this person I never met, nor why it feels like grief.

Maybe because he was such an authentic person?
Maybe because he lived a life we all yearn for?
Maybe because he touched a chord that millions of us feel and felt with his line ...

“The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”


  1. Aahh Joyce, what an incredibly evocative exploration of Eden Ahbez and his impact on you and why. This is why we ✍️ write. Thank you for this much-welcomed inspiration.

  2. Sam ... you are always an inspiration and a magnificent guide.