… on landslides and new landscapes

Sunrise, moments ago.

There’s this song that’s been following me around for about a year, maybe a little more. Creepily showing up at the oddest times, sometimes with grating frequency.

The Dixie Chicks sort of revived it a few years back, and had either a yellow malleable or grayish white noncorroding ductile metallic element song.

It went gold or platinum… I’m just messing with you because I’m cranky because I’m still waiting for the coffee maker to beep. Oh! There it goes. Hang on for a sec.

<jeopardy music>

Okay I’m back.

So the song… Landslide.

This song, one of Stevie Nick’s original versions, has been following me around for a while.

Actually, probably since Ms. Reynolds sang it during a high school open mic night years ago, before Mac and Sam graduated high school.

In addition to her musical talents, Ms. Reynolds was… well is … a rock star of a teacher at Groton-Dunstable high school. She teaches history, and I don’t know a student who doesn’t wish for her as a teacher when they have to take it. If she isn’t teaching the course or level they need, the kids are visibly and audibly disappointed. Ya. She’s that great.

And sometimes very tough things happen to very great humans.

Ms. Reynolds’ husband got sick, and then he died. And her life and heart were broken.

Landslide, became a song the kids begged her to sing any time she would and/or could. She has this fantastic gravely voice that is just so good… and an earned and shared emotion that brings tears to the eyes of all of us who listen and know.

Last night, out of nowhere, Gabe brought Ms. Reynolds up on his phone. He was all, ‘What?! Ms. Reynolds sang her song at graduation this year. Why did she skip our year?” And I was all, “Wait. She didn’t sing it at your graduation? She sang it at Mac’s and Sam’s. Did you all not beg her to sing it?”

And we wondered a little about it together.

But I was marveling that the song was back in my orbit. Again.

My interpretation of the song sort of circled around a personal relationship with another human and the purposeful – or unpurposeful – ending of it.  The landslide being the ending. A new landscape being the result.

I took my love, I took it down.
Climbed a mountain and I turned around.
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills.
‘Til the landslide brought it down.

The song showed up so often, that I began to wonder if it was somehow prescient.

It started making me nervous, because a couple of lines in the chorus were kind of haunt-y…

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

Was something wrong with me and my relationship with the Nearly Perfect Husband? I mean, I had been feeling all change-ish (beyond mental-pause change-ish, I mean)… and kind of restless, like something needed to change, or was going to change… or was changing out of my control… but it didn’t feel like we were ending, or were supposed to!

I know, I was a bit panicked.

And then, slowly, the song guided me beyond my Ms. Reynolds-based interpretation… and I began realizing that – in that wonderful way of poetry, prose, and lyrics – my own personal interpretation was becoming manifest…

But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Stevie Nicks, in her performing of the song, adds “o oh… I don’t know“.

As with so many of us who have children, we will inevitably get to the point where the craziness of the everyday raising of them – the loony bin of diapers and Pack n’ Plays and infinite queries and crayoned walls and innocent wonder giving way – all too soon – to the stubborn pulling away of the teenage years that nearly ends us (or at least throws the whole idea of ‘patience as a renewable resource’ into question). And then, as if in a flash, they are leaving to explore life on their own for real and… and this is where it dawned on me… why this song was tapping me on the shoulder… I found myself turning around, having climbed that mountain.

I don’t think I’ve been afraid of changing because I’ve built my life around my kids… but more around the places and spaces and activities and requisite jobs that this past quarter century with them has had me tethered to.

As we were trying to decide between staying put and moving to Maine, JoHn and I each had different things we wrestled with. And our individual mental gyrations landed us in a nearly identical place.

We could stay in the place, the town, the house we raised our children in and be very happy. It would, as all places do, change over the years… cows would come and go…

Or

We could head to Maine.

Where we would be by the ocean, in a place that had been calling to each of us.

It was risky, in my estimation, because I am so in love with family – not just my own kids, but nieces and nephews and dear friends and … well, so many are ‘down there’. How would that be?

O oh… I don’t know.

And for JoHn, where would he get his afternoon coffee? The one he needs to go out for because he does need to get out of the house at least once each day?

I know. Sigh. Extroverts.

JoHn is all about familiarity. Running into someone he has known his whole life (he grew up in the town right next to Dunstable) at a coffee shop or at the supermarket.

What would it feel like to not have that happen?

O oh… he didn’t know.

But the cool thing about the song was this.

I was still thinking it was about the end of romantic love until the moment I climbed into Gronk, to leave the Disposable Shack for the last time.

The home I raised my kids in…

The home we last lived with Grampa in…

Just…

Home.

I’d heard Landslide earlier that day while I was sweeping up, all alone, in Granny’s and Grampa’s bedroom. I was the only one in the house, everyone else having gone on ahead. And even though I welled up, it didn’t hit me.

It didn’t hit me until I climbed into Gronk, after shoving the very last thing I could possibly fit inside, having to lean on the tailgate to shut it.

I took a deep breath of silence before hitting the start button, and damn if it didn’t happen.

Landslide came on.

Took my love, and I took it down…

That’s when it hit me.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

You.

You, my house and my town and my friends and the houses and fields and farms and shops and churches I’ve passed by every day for 25 years…

The people and places and spaces that surrounded me and enveloped me and I embraced as I created a family of my own, with no idea how to actually do that… but lessons and guides and support were all there.

Yes, even the cows played their part.

I wound my way slowly down the driveway, for the last time, carried on the current of our lives toward a little cove in Maine, from which new adventures will unfold.

Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

O oh… I think so.

Thanks for readin’

As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment.

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