Now she’s gone and I don’t worry, Lord I’m sittin’ on top of the world…

Sitting on Top of the World (Sitting on Top clip) has been recorded about a zillion times, but the version I heard first and fell in love with was sung by Jimmy Martin on the second Circle album from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  In the image below, ant-like people scurry atop Preikestolen (Preacher’s Pulpit) in Norway.  I’ve written about the place before…a chunk of rock sitting about 1,800 feet above cold, hard water.  Have you ever been close to the edge of some precipice, maybe a building top or high bridge, and had this feeling that if you stay long some irresistible urge would lead you to jump off?  Not because you wanted to do so, but out of some weird misfiring of synapses in your brain?  You would not be alone.  Many people have this sensation, and I felt it myself atop Preikestolen.  Not the fear of falling off…the fear of jumping!  In “The Imp of the Perverse”, Edgar Allan Poe describes it as carrying out an act simply because we know we should not- the imp that sits on your shoulder and whispers self-destructive encouragement in your ear.  Poe had issues of his own, no doubt, but the man also had creative genius.  He is usually credited as the inventor of the genre of detective fiction, paving the way for generations to enjoy crime-solving maestros from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon (“the Da Vinci Code”).  So, if you read detective fiction, you might want to check out Poe’s short stories featuring the Parisian detective C. Auguste Dupin so you can see where it all came from.  And if you might enjoy a rollicking old bluegrass standard, give the Dirt Band’s Circle Volume II some ear time…I think you’ll be glad you did.  (15 August, 2011  Preikestolen, Rogaland, western Norway)

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