I’m not sure where to begin.
The massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022 left 21 dead.
Today is one of those days where tiredness and worry catches up with rest and outpaces it. I’d lie if I said it was happening more and more often. But it is getting more severe.
Franz Kafka – the famous writer who wrote that surreal cockroach story “The Metamorphosis” – explained literature this way: “A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us.”
I’d make the claim “A Wave of Golden Things,” the song by Tall Tall Trees, is that axe to the frozen parts of ourselves these days.
Tall Tall Trees, aka Mike Savino, dedicated “A Wave of Golden Things” to the survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. The ten year anniversary is coming up this December 14th. The song, and we have the official video at this link, indeed feels like the product of several “Wide awake, 3am” nights where you can’t get up, can’t lie down and sleep, and need something to soothe your frayed nerves.
This is not the song to soothe frayed nerves.
This is the song to crack the ice that covers the heart.
This is the song that always makes me cry.
Personally, I was conflicted in my feelings about “A Wave of Golden Things.” (My review of the full, eponymous 2020 album is here.) The song was wonderfully written and beautifully performed. But in the face of horrific death, of almost complete powerlessness, the message it speaks – those who have been needlessly lost face a better afterlife – that feels like a cheap dodge to me. It feels like delusion.
A part of me still feels uncomfortable with believing that. But belief is the only thing we can do after the fact.
I now find that’s enough to break through the ice. And often it’s enough to seek some rest from exhaustion.
Politically, I’d say I err more on the side of activism. Stand up, make a difference. March. Protest – a riot is language of the unheard – so riot, too. In the face of endless capitalism and our world being wrenched apart, rest isn’t among the first ten things that come to my mind.
But lately, I’ve had to appreciate the importance of rest. Of putting things off. Of deliberate inaction – for a moment – to regain your ground and yourself.
“A Wave of Golden Things” is that. It’s putting off the action. It’s placing yourself in a safe place, for about five minutes, so you can look around and get reoriented on your path.
I said two years ago this song was the most beautiful thing I’d ever listened to and it still is. You can stream “A Wave of Golden Things” and play it off of the YouTube link above. But we believe in supporting artists and good art. So check out Tall Tall Trees’ website and listen to some tracks, plop about through a few pages, and buy the full album (not off of Amazon, but) at their official bandcamp store linked here.