The sound that will lead you home
Music – STORY – resonates from a deep pain. Pain doesn't necessarily mean something negative. Yes, pain reflects tragedy; it reflects loss and hurt. But it also reflects this insistence to notice, to experience and to appreciate the beauty and brevity of life.
I've thought a lot about music this past week. I grew up listening to old country and bluegrass, songs that I didn't know at the time were rooted in folk music. Folk music rooted in the mountains and across the Atlantic to Ireland and Great Britain. I grew up singing hymns that were rooted in the folk tunes and pub songs of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Germany. These songs sailed to America, got lost wandering the Blue Ridge Mountains and became the will-o-wisps of bluegrass, became the protests of the folk movement, became the twang of late '80's country.
These songs tell stories, stories of pain and beauty, of heartache and wonder. They sing of tragedy and happiness and call us to fear the darkness outside our front doors. I'm entranced by their siren, and I itch to return to those ancient pathways. They are overgrown; they are weed ridden. I have my basket and I have my gloves. The nettles sting fierce and yes, there are snakes.
I'm goin' huntin' and gatherin', Children. I've got my walkin' stick at hand. There's a song in those old forests, a story echoing along the edges of the pines. Oh that VOICE! How it whispers of magic and my ears, pricked to follow, beg feet to hurry, forget shoes, stub toes, break nails. Be afraid of what you may uncover but don't turn back because of the fear. Press onward into the twilight, dig up the monsters under the loam. Let them snarl and growl and threaten and write down every word they say. Ask them to repeat until you can hum their tune. Then you can turn them around and connect them to beauty; a circle of living that's forever being told.
Follow the music that catches you. Let it carry you over mountains and streams. It may lead you to a vast ocean or a hidden glade of foxglove and bees. It's the resonance that tells you “You're on the right path.” A deep resonance that fills your belly and vibrates your soul. That's what you need to be following. That's the sound that will finally lead you home.