Monday, December 15, 2008

snow angel

     I was driving to work the other day, listening to the title song of Over the Rhine's Christmas album, Snow Angel.  And I started crying. Like really crying. You know, face-crumpled-squinting-through-tears crying. 

     And yeah, it was the song, but not just the song, I guess. 

     The song chronicles this couple. The girl makes snow angels with her true love, and that becomes their lullaby of sorts, his whisper in her memory . He goes to war, doesn't come back alive, and she sees his body for the first time while the church bells are ringing, oblivious as fools, as the very poignant lyric goes. 

     And there is something about that lyric that just makes sense. Like it very clearly realizes how absolutely stupid the chores and habits--even the very sounds--of life can be when faced with our own darkness; when trying to compete with the reality of any situation that leaves our soul bereft, they are in fact insignificant.  Or at times, even offensive.  Foolish. Like the sounds of bells, peeling out, ringing in their soprano voices, laughing in stark and terrible contrast to the condition of your heart that has now left your body. 

     Oblivious as fools. 

    I thought it a beautiful lyric. You know exactly what they mean. You see the picture, hear how horrible those bells are. 

    Anyway, I guess I am not quite over that song because when I tried to tell Drew about it at dinner tonight, I cracked again. And I looked like a perfect little idiot crying into my fajitas. But the truth is, even if I do ever get over that song, or at least accomplish the great and formidable task of listening to it without the appearance of tears, I will never get over the sentiment.  

   Not for a minute.

   And yes this is about Drew--decidedly--but it's also about others, the people who make up my world. Family. Friends. And I want them to know how more than anything else, I love them. And if anything were ever to happen, the bells ringing in my world would be the worst sound, I know; that I wouldn't laugh, couldn't laugh again, I think. 

   But sure, songs and other things can take you there, if you aren't there already. But you can't just stay. You'd be a great big bleeding heart, and that gets very messy. You'd cry when someone asks you to please pass the butter and that could be very confusing for them, considering they had said please and everything.  Also, you don't ever want to be someone who only talks deeply. Who never just talks about the sale at Gap, or the Christmas traditions like brilliant light displays and shopping that may not seem spiritual but really are spiritual because guess what, they involve people. 

   And that's spiritual. 

    No, you need to be able to talk about the lighter things, too, like the latest episode of the Office (poor Andy Bernard).  Or how amazing Adele's album is (can't stop listening to it). 

   But right, Snow Angels. I guess it makes me think of cherishing the great and beautiful now that I have with Drew, with family, with friends.  And how there's more than enough love in all of that to last a lifetime and make me grateful throughout. 

  Here's hoping that the ringing of bells only sounds beautiful to you this Christmas season. And if they don't, then I hope you find the grace you need.


jason said...

and am I the person who told you about this album? You should get their other christmas album too!

jessica said...

Indeed, you are! And thank you for that! However, I have been a fan of Over the Rhine for a very long time, but for the past while have had a computer that was unable to download any music into my itunes. I finally got a computer that works like a charm and was able to buy some new music!and i want to get the other album, too:)

kathiek said...

Beautiful post, Jess!

silk said...

Jess, I do this "crying in the car intensely over a song that makes me emotional" all the time. I think it happens to members of the OSA club. It's embarrassing when there are others in the car. In fact, I have frightened some people; I try to tell them not to pay any attention. I think it shows a capacity for feeling deeply which leads to the creative muse reappearing. So what am I saying? Relish it, I guess? After you fix your make up.

Christmas is an especially intense season for episodes of this sort. But I guess it should be.

semi anonymous said...

sorry, that was me, I usually sign Silk on the blogs of people that know me and I forget where I am sometimes.

Ash said...

a) Over the Rhine is awesome.
b) I loved this post, and am going to be giving some extra hugs out today to the special people in my life.
c) Really lovely writing.

Jessica Latshaw said...

thanks, Kathie!

And S-A--I suspected that belonging to OSA had something to do with it...;-)

Ash--I am always surprised that more people don't know and love Over the Rhine. Their music really is stunning.

Michele said...

Jessica, I don't know this song or this group, but reading your post brought tears to my eyes. You express things so beautifully! Thank you for the ending sentiment also!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Michele, thank you for saying so. You are always so encouraging--you are such a friend to me! I still remember when we had that delicious breakfast for dinner (one of my faves) at Eagle diner and how fun it was;-) We'll have to do a reprise some time!