I’ve never been a big fan of the musical Pippin, but I do love one of the most well-known songs from it, “Corner of the Sky,” which is sung by the title character when he first appears in the show. Pippin is a young prince, destined to become king, who is struggling to find his place in the world. Not only does the song have a lovely, memorable melody, it also has beautiful, haunting, and somewhat sad lyrics: “Everything has its season, everything has its time. Show me a reason and I’ll soon show you a rhyme. Cats fit on the windowsill, children fit in the snow – why do I feel I don’t fit in anywhere I go?” Another verse includes the poignant line, “And don’t you see I want my life to be something more than long?” The final line of the refrain, repeated multiple times throughout the song, and the line with which the song ends, pleads, “I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free – got to find my corner of the sky.” Pippin spends the rest of the show searching for his place in the world, his “corner of the sky.”
Part of being human, I believe, is a longing to fit in, a deep-seated desire to find a “place” of one’s own. This place is not necessarily a physical location, but it is rather a role within society, within a family, within a group of peers. It may simply be a sense of contributing to the general good of humanity or the welfare of society. The need to find a place may be satisfied by holding a respected job, by having a happy marriage and raising children, by charitable or philanthropic work, or by any of a multitude of factors that can make us feel like we’ve found our place.
And of course, our “place” may change over the course of time. As youngsters, making the varsity track team or being part of the drama club may fulfill the need for a place, working for a high-tech company or a well-known law firm may be our place later in life, leading a child’s scout troop or tutoring in the local school system may become our place once we’re more established as adults, and during our retirement years, our place may be found by volunteer work. No-one has just one single “place” throughout their lives.
So what is my place, right now? I have a place as a wife, a mother, a writer, a singer, an actor. I fit in at church, in my various theatrical groups, on the boards of several organizations which I serve, in my neighborhood, in my circle of friends. I am blessed to have more than one “place” that I can call my own. I guess you could say that my sky has lots of corners, and in every one of them, I have a place.