One of the most popular postings on my blog, statistically speaking, is ‘The Spin Cycle’. There’s a good chance that its popularity is due to the sadly-funny Charlie Brown cartoon that I shamelessly borrowed from elsewhere online and appropriated for my own amusement. However, maybe a few of the people that stumbled across my blog have taken the time to read what I had to say about the redeeming power of music. At least I hope so.
When I made that post a couple of years ago, I was consumed by the idea that my record collection might just be my best friend in the world. The songs in my collection were always there to celebrate with me during times of joy, just as they were there to comfort me during the tougher times. But then a beautiful thing happened on my grand New Zealand adventure later that year – I met someone that became my real-life best friend. We had a love of music and outdoor pursuits in common, plus so much more. Though separated by half a continent, we texted or emailed each other every day. Our initial chats revealed so much more fertile ground for conversation; our dreams, our aspirations, our worries, our regrets. Nothing was off-limits. We could talk about anything without fear of ridicule or judgment. It was wonderful.
And then, nineteen months after it began, our friendship nearly dissolved with a single email. It happened so quickly that I can only compare it to slamming head-first into a brick wall. Initially I was confused and stunned, then angry, then anxious. Finally I lapsed into an almost unbearable melancholy. I’m still not entirely sure what happened, but our friendship seems to be irreparably damaged. Perhaps there is something left to be salvaged, and I’m going to try my best, but I just don’t know. The one woman in the world that I could confide in at times like this is the same person who is now shoving me away. It’s scary and disappointing and very tough to wrap my head around. I feel like I’ve lost my staunchest ally, my safety net, my emotional compass.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve turned once again to my music collection for solace and comfort. The somber genius of The National has been on shuffle for most of this week. At other times, I’ve been spinning songs from London Grammar, Beck, Tom Petty, Iron & Wine and Bon Iver. Each of these artists seem to create music that intuitively understands what it’s like to be suddenly confronted with an unexpected chasm between friends. I can take some comfort in knowing that other people seem to be just as bewildered by life as I am. All the same, I truly miss my real-life friend. For a time we were thick as thieves – now there’s just a stab wound in my gut where our friendship used to be. And it hurts like hell.
This evening, I packed up the car for a road trip. First thing tomorrow I’ll head to the mountains, pitch a tent, pour a glass of wine, and cook something for dinner over the fire. I’ll stare into the embers while my new Bluetooth rechargeable speaker summons some old friends from my iPod to keep me company. The weather looks like it will be beautiful this week, so I intend to spend my days hiking up and down the sides of mountains and my nights sleeping under the stars. I feel like I’m once again at a crossroads in my life; I have a lot to think about. Hopefully I will find some of the answers I seek in whatever music soothes my soul.