There are moments, like diamonds revealed out of a blanket of soil, that simply stand out more in the progress of time.
Some of them are moments of great change, some hold great deeds or revelations, and some are there due to enlightenment or understanding. But some, some are there because voice and sound kissed them, marking them into eternity.
And I, the Harvester, collect these gemstones and hold them close to my heart, as if I was harvesting light instead.
That moment – I remember the warmth of the bus air, even though I can’t seem to remember if it was summer or winter – when a feeling washed over me as “Mercy street” started playing in my headphones. It wasn’t one of Peter Gabriel’s songs I was deeply attached to, or one that meant something to me until then, but in that moment, something clicked. As the song played in my ears I found myself thinking about a scene from a story I was reading at that time, having it play itself in front of my closed eyes.
I can’t tell you why that happened. Some obscure connection my half-asleep brain had made that moment and sealed it, encapsulating it, eternally connecting song and scene and moment and feeling together, forever.
And so, to this day, I can still see the exact road the bus was riding through, smell the warm air, feel this wave of emotion run through me as the first few notes of “Mercy Street” are played. A moment in time, perfectly captured, preserved and precise, like an insect in amber.
The first day in summer the air is warm enough for me to let the window stay open throughout the Friday afternoon is the first time of the season I listen to “The Beekeeper”. It’s a summer album, one I simply can’t listen to when the weather becomes cold and rainy. It’s the buzzing of the bees that let me move into that dream-like state towards that music. Letting “Sleeps with Butterflies” go through me like a knife. Let the words carve themselves deeper into me, yielded by the sharp and soft voice of Tori Amos, flowing with the piano keys.
It mixes with what is already a heavy slant of time – the “Friday Afternoon” feeling you get here in Israel, when everything slows down, and you can feel the quiet settles in. In summer, it’s even more pronounced. The weight of the day and the heat drops down like a curtain, engulfing everywhere in silent humming. Into that silence, the slow and soft music is interwoven, as the tapestry assembled from all layers to create a softer reality, heat and music and stillness, one on top of the other.
When Adam Lambert went through the last few lines of “Under Pressure” I couldn’t keep my tears from falling. After more than twenty years of loving that song, looking at the distant stage and imagining Freddie’s spirit smiling at the utter grandness that is his legacy, it was the culmination of feelings I couldn’t resist when they flowed through me.
That isn’t my first Queen song, nor is it my favorite, but at that moment it meant more to me than all the others, because for the first time when I listened to the lyrics I could feel them pool at the pit of my stomach, spreading warmth with blazed fingers, doing something that music has the power to do to me sometimes.
When it changes the way I breathe, it’s important.
That moment was important. The top of a mountain I’ve been climbing for a very long time and a resting place for a voice I’ve been listening to for the better part of my life. There was so much loss tangled in that, both Freddie’s and David Bowie’s. I just couldn’t lock it outside of me, as I saw others around me do (I feel so sorry for them – for letting something like that, a moment like that, just pass them by).
“Love dares you to change our way of/Caring about ourselves”
There was an article awhile ago, mentioning the most recognizable songs from the first few notes, but my list is greatly different.
Because three notes in, I will be in a state of complete vertigo, ready to sacrifice anything and everything just to go through “Wuthering Heights”’s each and every wonderful sound, every move and twist of Kate Bush’s voice, her ability to mold the lyrics with the instrument that is her voice.
It’s me when I was eight, standing in the bus stop waiting to go home going through that song in my head, even though I didn’t know who the singer was, or any of the lyrics, or how to find it.
Nowadays, it is so easy. Smartphone out, Youtube or Shazam, and here it is. It would not have eluded me for that long, had it been back then, but the years I spent pining for that song had only made me admire it more, miss it more. Every time it came on the radio was held tightly to my chest, reverberated and treasured. It was a rarity that ruled some part of me, and it was always incredible, the smile on my face when it ended was genuine and open, completely lost and floating.
And I won’t ever forget that moment when it came on on TV and I finally learned its name and the name of its singer. After years of loving that elusive song, I could finally solve that grand mystery. I’ve never felt so excited.
And that leap of my heart when I saw the name in the record store, and those telling first three notes when I put on my headphones of my CD player and hit “play”.
The feeling of owning a piece of my history, it felt, and I played it on repeat for hours and days, without the ability to stop. I felt like I was quenching a thirst that was years old.
And those moments I catch those notes when I’m in my car today will spell heaven and history and coolness and discovery still, even 25 years after that first time.
Treasures, each and every one of these moments. Insignificant to the outsider but precious and priceless to me. The simplicity of making something small and insignificant into the extraordinary.
[And “Harvester of Light” is from “Winter song” by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson. Another piece of music with meaning to me just because of the moment in time and the emotion it represents].