Emotional landscapes

I haven’t been able to listen to music for well over a year. I’ve seen myself in a shop and my ears tune into some sad song and i feel myself choking up like a volcano has erupted somewhere deep inside me and I get out of the store fast. Songs not in English are ok – the words don’t reel me in like a floundering fish. While their melodies create wonderful emotional landscapes I can paint my own trees, cliffs and rolling hills – it’s all on my terms.

Shards fly out from the most unexpected place – elevator music, bad cover versions in Japanese restaurants  – snipers hiding in the plastic ferns.

There has been another time in my life which was wonderfully full of music and I so admired people that could sing in the shower or just walking down the street, or around a campfire. It would cripple me to whistle a tune out loud – god forbid hum a tune! I couldn’t even sing in front of the dog! And a huge shift took place when i wrote a song and sung it in front of 40 people. Shamanic belief is that we are singing the soul back home.  It was more than just the song it was the accumulation of a lot of work but something clicked and I became more fully at home in myself.

Fast forward a few years now and the death of my brother as you can imagine knocked my world off it’s orbit – and almost a year and a half later a friend sends me a link of some music. Something clicked – I was drawn into the song. I related rather than reacted to the words. I am happily surprised and a small amorphous part of my soul has definitely been sung back in place.


2 thoughts on “Emotional landscapes

  1. Your post is beautiful and relatable. I was drawn to the song (nightingale) during my sister-in-law’s period of decline and death over a three month period in 2007. During that summer my daughter was approaching one year and I was just beginning to find glimpses of joy in motherhood after many long dark months of depression after her birth (a time when I certainly did a lot of public crying in the grocery store induced by old cheesy music on the PA system). The juxtaposition of this breakthrough paired with the loss of Emily just seemed so strange and wrong. In my grief I felt less alone listening to this song that gave me the imagery of birds keeping a flying vigil over all the goings on in this life—beauty, joy, grief and darkness. I held onto it to remind me that all of these absolutes exist all the time and found a little comfort in that, I guess. She and I liked to share music and I sent her a copy of the song when she was sick. Amazingly at the moment I got the message she had died I had just walked in the door of our house and turned on NPR—the song came on the radio. I knew it was her stopping by and felt humbled by this last tangible connection. I like to collect things that inspire hope in me but don’t deny the inextricable thread of tragedy—if the whole story isn’t acknowledged I feel much more empty. Thanks for writing.
    XO Kristin

  2. Hey K,

    Thanks for your thoughts. It feels good to share stories and experiences. I love those little strings of magic that crackle and mean so much – like you hearing the song on NPR – as you put it the ‘last tangible connection’. I think all my family (in their own ways) experienced the same last connection from my brother.

    I’d love an afternoon crafting in the woods – sharing such stories and making something to express of love of friends and family passed on!

    Again thanks for your words,

    Jude X

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