Monday, April 06, 2009

As Long As One and One is Two...

Yesterday was the anniversary of Jen and Andy's wedding last April 5 and the day brought back a whole flood of memories from that day, that weekend.

Some of those memories are images that remain in my mind as if they just happened, others are more like snapshots that I flip through in my mental memory book. Others are full flush emotional memories that draw up a visceral response from deep inside my being. These memories bring with them laughter, or tears, or laughter AND tears and when they arise I am forced to stop and sit with them for a while, because otherwise I can't even get on with my day.

I am also a very aurally oriented person (hence my business, and this blog). There a very few experiences that I have had in my life that aren't, on some level, connected to a memory of sound, usually music, and the depth of meaning that rises out of the pool of feelings and ideas that music and sound create for me.

I think that one of the reasons for this is that sound and music provide for me (and I believe for most people) a way of accessing thoughts, feelings, and experiences at a more rudimentary level, at a somewhat sub-conscious (perhaps even pre-conscious) level. This experience also sets a hook (there's a reason they call the supercharged line in any pop song "the hook") that can drag you deeper than you might otherwise be willing to, at least consciously, go. It also provides a different kind of hook on which to hang an image, an emotion, and/or a memory.

I possess many of these types of hooks with regard to the event of the year last year. Because all of the music for the wedding was selected for and played on iPods, the choices that were made for the tunes were very personal and loaded with connection.

A line from Jennifer's pick for her song stated, "This is the first day of my life. I swear I was born right in the doorway." A line from Andy's pick declared "I will follow you into the dark." On this day when they faced each other across an unknown divide they spoke to each other first, through the words in their songs.

For me, the moment I was most looking forward to as the wedding approached was the "father daughter dance." The chance to, one last time, stand with my baby girl's feet on top of my feet and whirl her around to the music like we were the only ones there. It was a moment that was loaded with old memories and new hopes and dreams. It was a melancholy rememberance of the fact that my little girl was "all grown up" and that another man would be walking with her into the next part of her life. It was also loaded with all the hopes, and dreams, and fears I have about the future: her future, their future, my future, our future... ALL our futures.

My selection for the dance was a song by Paul Simon that I have held close to my heart ever since the first time I heard it. It is filled with the typically Simonesque imagery; slightly strange pictures that hold power not only for their poignancy but also for the fact that they are unique. My favorite one of these comes in the first verse when the father declares his dedication to his daughter by stating that he will "stand guard like a postcard of a golden retriever." It's a way of saying... I will ALWAYS watch out for you and I will never give up, but it makes the claim in a strange and approachable way.

That line is the perfect example of Paul Simon song writing at its best. The first time you hear it, it sets you back. "What the hell does that mean!?" I'll stand guard like a postcard? A postcard doesn't stand guard! But a golden retriever might. And what could be more steadfast than a PICTURE of a golden retriever? There's not even a blink there... no movement... no flinching, or drooling, or excited ball chasing. Just watching.It's a verbal image that drops deeper and deeper into odd and amusing memories and triggers the longer you spend time with it (and I've spent a lot of time with it).

That's why we listen to music. That's why we listen to (and tell) stories. That's where they get their power. Like a deep lake or a great ocean, the great songs, symphonies, stories, and dramas derive their immense power for holding us and changing us from what's below the surface. You have to stop and wait. You have to dive deeply into them and stay down there a while. You have to let them settle under your skin.

As Simon says in another part of the song, "trust your intuition... it's just like goin' fishin..."

That's what music is about.

"There could never be a father loved his daughter more than I love you."