"and you knew that i forgave you, for making other plans"
When I was in school, kicking around in the green room (or in our case "Green Hall", because it was very decidedly a passageway with couches and not a room) we laughed a lot at ourselves and how many times our sentences began "I really feel that..." And while a little ridiculous at times, this regular expression of feeling as opposed to thinking does characterize the way in which I operate. And it was a big part of the reason I fell so completely under the spell of theatre. Here was a world in which my natural way of being was not only acceptable, but valued. Here were others who also felt before they thought.
Fortunately for people who have to deal with me, I like to balance my "feel-first" tendency with an over-active need to analyze, so there's little need to worry that I'll suddenly free fall into feeling leaving my brain behind. But I do interact with and experience the world primarily through emotion and intuition, feeling most connected (not to be misunderstood as most comfortable) in the presence of emotional vulnerability and freedom to express one's self. Music is unarguably a unifying element, both scientific and mystical in its proven ability to reach the unreachable, communicate with people beyond natural barriers and to reach me past my daily operating level of skin-deepness.
So when you pick up a guitar, sit down at the keyboard, and your words and heart-on-your-sleeve voice remind me of things I already know, things I yearn to understand and remind me that I am not alone, you've got me.
Since I first heard Aidan play this song last year at an End Homelessness Now event at St Andrew's-Wesley, I have been binge-listening to it. His song about broken lives and forgiveness is not my story, and I suspect is not even his own, but it transcends. And those words "you knew that I forgave you for making other plans" can only mean one thing to me. They are an unspoken understanding with my sister; four years after the fact and I forgive her, for making other plans.
For my favourite video of this song (blogger wouldn't let me upload it), click here.
A bunny and balloons and I was very near bawling right there in
the street, thinking about those who wrote the sign by hand, their hearts rent over a loved lost. And I wanted to write about it, to process
and remember the times I too have loosed balloons.
But I forgot. And
today, it was about forgiveness. I thought, I like to forgive like I
blow up balloons. And so while the ideas are not the same, I think there
is a connection. It's an image that means something to us...I don't
know, something about balloons doing what our hearts demand. It is time for release.
Intrigued from the moment that I first heard about Honeycomb Tombs via Facebook and some Calgary-friends, I had to get involved.
"About a year ago Karla was privileged to be at the hospital when a dear
family said goodbye to their daughter. In the midst of that beautiful
and heart-wrenching day Karla witnessed music play an important role in
the early stages of grief.
The goal of this project is to create a FREE digital
album that walks alongside those in the midst of grief; a collection of
music, spaces, poetry and stories that can be played while you journal,
take a drive, cry or nap. This album will be completely listener
funded and available for free digital download. What that means is
Karla will not recoup any of her $9800 budget with cd sales. The goal
is to raise at least $7500 by April 1, 2012 to cover the costs of
recording, producing, mixing and mastering and marketing the album."
There are so few avenues for expressing emotion in our daily lives, and nowhere is this more true than for those dealing with grief. I once saw a movie depicting an Indian funeral and I marveled at their public grieving. Shocked by such expressive freedom, I began to long for such a moment in my own life. I pictured myself there, my sister's body wreathed in flowers, being carried through the streets, while we followed wailing, some of us falling and being carried to the place of burial.
And yet, I never experienced such uncensored pain. I did not cry publicly, I was gracious towards those offering condolences and I tried, in small ways, to be a support to my family. We had a deli spread in the church basement and people wept quiet tears and hugged (while they apologized for those tears). There was nothing wrong with it, it was completely normal. But I want, no need, more.
I am not a musician, but I have had music in me for as long as I can remember. It opens me up like nothing else can; I believe in its power to communicate beyond differences in language, intellect, and experience. Music can be something different to each person who hears it, and in doing so, it meets each of us exactly where we are.
Honeycomb Tombsis a mellow and contemplative collection of songs. Though never stagnant or repetitious, the tone, something I can only describe as gentle strength, winds its way throughout. The first song leads you to the next, your experience growing richer and deeper as you wade in, though any one song has a magic the one previous did not. Musically this album falls somewhere between folk and lullaby, while lyrically it acts as "a surge of the heart; ...a
simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of
love, embracing both trial and joy."
It is such a joy to hear lyrics that echo your own journal entries, as someone else asks the same questions: of God, yourself and of those who left you behind. In her first single, Flying Low, the lines build to crescendo, "I know I'm alive, raised from the dead inside", and as powerful as waves of grief crashing down, Karla's vocals swell from contemplative-quiet to reaching, insisting, claiming "I know I'm alive"! These lines resonate as an inner dialogue of survival and of hope. Graceland and Graveyards is sweetly melancholic and utterly compassionate. My thoughts almost word for word, "This is a lonely crowd of people I'm in, this is another bad day slowly setting in." The song speaks the beautiful, painful truth,"You refuse to be erased."
In Invisible Lines, Karla writes "Our hearts broke at the same time, torn along invisible lines. Mine was still beating, yours said goodnight, our hearts broke at the same time." Beautiful. Who can Hold Me? asks the giant question and suggests an answer for those living in moments where "This freezing rain, this stinging pain, it's what is getting me through".
When I see Him has one of my favourite lines of the whole album, "Even if I don't come back darling, its alright." And even though nothing feels alright when someone has died, if my sister had said that, I just might have believed her. Room For Me is a surprising and triumphant burst, beginning with a soul questioning their place, worth and belonging. This soul is answered in no uncertain terms with the joyful trumpets of Swing Lo Sweet Chariot, a gorgeous and nostalgic refrain making me long for the days of childhood faith.
There is room for me, for you, in His chariot, in His arms.
Free download of Honeycomb Tombs, the new album from the Canadian musician Karla Adolphe, available MAY 15.