Melody, Unchained

Yesterday Katrisa, Cassidy, and I were in the car when Death Cab for Cutie’s song, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” came on. As one, the three of us — grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter — sang the whole song right through. Our clear voices floated from the car window into the shiny-clear day as we sang this poignant song that is a favorite with all three of us.  Of course, I had gotten one of the words wrong (‘departs’ instead of ’embarks’), but this is a trademark of mine. I don’t think there’s been a song yet that I didn’t get something wrong, but that’s part of the fun. I was gently and lovingly corrected during the instrumental bridge. What a magical few minutes!

You just can’t buy or prepare for moments like these, can you? Spontaneous, yet they only surface after thousands of mundane moments have happened. The pearl is an apt metaphor here, beginning its creation as a speck of irritating sand and becoming more beautiful as time goes on. That oyster never knows when its shell will be cracked open; the process continues until it does.

Special moments don’t necessarily need the physical presence of others. They can also accrue via such technology as Skype or Hangouts, but only once the foundation for those memory pearls has been laid through personal association, the kind that involves all five senses. If we’ve actually smelled and touched someone in addition to hearing, seeing, and speaking to them, our brains will register a Skype call in exactly the same way as if the person were there in the room with us. The same feel-good endorphins burst through the doors of perception; the same rise in serotonin levels occurs — you name it, your brain thinks it’s real, and it makes you feel happy.

So, if you decide to give Mother Earth a rest during the holidays; if you choose to cut your fossil fuel consumption so you can afford to buy from local vendors and support your community, you needn’t lose out on seeing family. Figure out how to use Skype if you haven’t yet. My fave is actually Google Hangouts because now you can video chat with anyone in the world who has a Gmail account, and the reception is very good. The point  is, there are options. Please find them and use them.

Death Cab for Cutie may not be one of your favorite groups and maybe you won’t be singing the same song we did. I highly doubt it! The Hollands have some strange and cherished rituals when it comes to song and dance. Find your own song, if that’s the kind of family and friends you have. Do what comes naturally when you’re in their company even if it’s (as a dear friend responded yesterday to my last blog) “dance naked and watch football!”

You needn’t wait for a certain calendar day to try this out, you know. Plans stifle spontaneity. Unchain your own melody and see what happens.

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