Saturday, September 10, 2016

it's on again

Darling when you wake, remind me what we've done
That can't be shared, or saved, or even sung

There are some songs that hold within them worlds, stories, and movements of our lives.

I began to play Familiarity, and the twinkly strums of the Punch Brother's strings filled Meredith's room, with the throbbing, abrupt, erratic beats of the rhythm punching underneath.

As we listen to it together, I find myself suddenly not in her room. Although my body may be there, the interior me is transported back several months. It's as though my body is simply an empty shell, inhabited by different hermit crabs. As the song begins to play, I swap out the current crab for an older, more familiar crab.

You know it and so do your friends
And you can sing together 

Instantly, I felt myself back at my desk at school, in the midst of April ennui, pounding away at lesson plans, editing spreadsheets, or grading computer quizzes. I could feel my feet tapping away under my desk, and turning to make faces with Joe, listening to the buzz of talk in the faculty room hum behind me.

A ringing bell, or programmed drums or both
I couldn't tell but I rejoice

During the crescendos, I feel all the possibility and promise of May pour back into my heart and veins. Spring in New York is full of vitality: of sap rushing through living things: of blood rushing to the head. Like ivy, it overtakes me, it seeps into my blood like intoxication.

We've come together over we know not what

As the drums spin off into an allegro, I repress the urge to jump on my bed, as I did one June afternoon in my sunny East Harlem bedroom. Unbidden, a smile creeps over my face, as my heart pounds in time to the music. I feel sidewalks under my feet. I see the East Village around me: that stretch of Avenue A between 14th and 13th street. I hear the roar of summer wind around me.

I see an end where I don't love you like I can

The tender, lilting voice of the violin milking melancholy chords reminds me, with a sharply sad sweetness, of the lake outside my window at Kylemore Abbey, and the smell of mountain air rippling across the lawn into my room. I'm reminded of the ascetic concrete floors, and the luxurious pillows. I'm reminded of the damp greenhouse of the mountainside, of climbing waterfalls, of rolling down hills. I'm reminded of the rich abundance of July, and the fresh feeling of floating through the day, the soft trills of melody billowing through my room along with the sunshine and mountain wind.

Though I'm not sure where we'll go
To worship more than what we know

As the final, spellbindingly suspenseful notes, gently drip out of the speakers, inconclusive and elegant, I remember all the feelings of the beauty of living inside of a liminal space. Where life is moving forward, the world is shifting under your feet, and each day pushes you forward into something unfamiliar and new. But, in the background, there is a theme constantly humming, running up and down like the opening notes of the mandolin. It weaves its way into every morning as you brush your teeth in the sunlight. It works its ways into your day, as you sing it softly to yourself in class and into your toes tapping inside your shoes. And it lingers behind your eyelids as you fall asleep to the sounds of the ambulance sirens roaring by.

Now, it contains all of those moments, and each punch of the drum brings them all flooding back to you: an entire world contained in each note.

As long as you're there I won't be alone

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