Today the sun almost shines in the palest sky. I’m trying to get into the day and finish up the second song for a new EP. I have to.
It’s a pretty song, but not easy. The song would say, “You’re not easy, too.” We’re trying one another’s patience. And I need to be braver than that.
And so it goes with each song I make up. I have to depend on patience and persistence, and wisdom and bravery — more of each than I have — to make something that’s going to last. This is always the challenge, and it’s never easy.
But the part of songwriting that takes bravery is not that. It’s committing to whatever it is I’ve set off to make.
The only way to move past the fear of commitment is to go all in, with an open heart. There’s no other way with art. (Or relationships. That’s for another post.) You’re never certain, and you can’t hesitate to put your art into the world because you’re just not sure.
I’m feeling brave today. And patience, it seems, isn’t different from bravery, it just takes longer.
There’s a path behind the place where I live, and a black gum tree on the path. Up against it stands some big leaf aster. I don’t know if you know what that looks like, but this tall beauty has bluish flowers, and large heart-shaped leaves. It’s just a gorgeous color.
Whenever I get to this spot where this tree stands, I get a type of … signal. I can’t explain it but I pay attention, because I know something’s going to happen; I’m going to get some words or a melody, or something.
What I love most about being a songwriter is that I stand all my life in the direct path of signals, the strangest, most beautiful alphabet in the universe. I get to translate pulsations into notes and lyrics that restore and console, reconstruct and heal.
The signals don’t always quickly reveal themselves, and when this happens it’s no use blaming the walk. No matter what, I have to stay on the trail and follow the things that motion me on. They often make no sense, and I don’t always feel like following them, but they always lead somewhere.
When I pay close attention, I see that no two walks along the path are the same. Each brings a hidden blessing; a miracle which is unique to the path on that day, and which cannot be saved for later.
If I don’t notice the aster, this bluish signal, if I don’t use this blessing today, it will be lost.