This past week I embarked on many miles on the road, in the air and on the water to discover some of the beautiful and remote communities on the Central Coast of British Columbia. Although physically alone, I brought with me the love of many and the company of music.
As I experienced this journey, there was one album that was a constant companion, Sam Weber’s ‘Shadows in the Road.’ When sorting through my music collection for this trip, Sam’s album was one of the first I chose if for no other reason than knowing I was going to be seeing him perform live when this week came to an end and I flew in to Kelowna, BC for the Bottega Festival. There is something about Sam’s voice, his writing, and the overall story of this album that took hold of me during these four days.
When away from my children, my home, and everything that is familiar and comforting, there was a part of me that felt lost, and yet another part of me that felt more whole than ever before. To be alone with oneself, to feel how the world feels to be in it, was scary and revealing and thrilling.
In these moments of isolated uncertainty and adventure, Sam’s music was with me. How strange it is to have music act like a friend. But that is what this album has been to me, a friend to take with me as I chose to see the soul in each face I met, to feel the ocean breeze, the strength of each mountain peak, and the beautiful life lessons in the cultures that have survived in the face of horrific injustice.
From the first time I heard Sam’s music I felt a resonance that was magnetic. When I met him there was this realized feeling that a person can be as good as their music. This is not to hold Sam to a pedestal that is unrealistic of being a human being. When I say good, I don’t mean perfect, which is not achievable or even describable. I mean good as in interesting and complicated and kind and mysterious and full of wonder and hope. His music has had an effect on me that I have cherished. It is fascinating when you hear the lyrics to a song and feel like you have thought those same things in your own head.
When I listen to his album from start to finish it’s as if I have this sense of relief; my inner self exhales. “All is well,” I think, “there are people out there in the world who think like this and are sharing themselves, connecting, and being free.”
Sam Weber’s songs played as I flew over glacier topped mountains, climbed ocean cliffs, and wrote in my journal about the people I had met. This single lyric from Sam’s song “The Nerves” echoes in my consciousness – “The words that keep my heart afloat are stuck inside my throat.”
Sometimes our desires are so close to what is possible it hurts. The desire to be ourselves is the greatest one of all, to say what is in our hearts, to be that brave, to be that true. To be searching and making mistakes and being okay with royally fucking things up. Isn’t that the ultimate achievement in life? To be brave enough to try, and if you crash and burn, to keep going, keep learning, keep discovering.
But so many of us will never get there. We will hold it all in, we will play it safe.
We live and we die. This concept haunts us all, whether we choose to come to terms with it or not. It is figuring out how to use the time we are given that is the hardest part. The beginning and end are out of our control, but the life part is all up to us.
As I look out the window of a small aircraft, flying over some of the most pristine land there is on Earth, I know this. Life is precious and fleeting. I am but a whisper. My imprint is but a grain of sand. But I do not take it for granted or feel any less important. I feel alive. I feel grateful. I marvel in the love that humans extend to one another; it is the only magic I will ever know for sure. Sometimes this love is intimate, complex and everlasting, and at other times it may be an exchange that only lasts a few seconds. In the grand scheme of life, I am not certain one is more important than the other.
I am in love with love. I am in love with my family and friends. I am in love with those I have not yet met. I am in love with you.