Sunday, 5 April 2009


Sometimes listening to the rain outside is the most beautiful and uplifting sound in the world. It caresses over your senses raising the fine hairs and enticing those tiny shivers of electricity through your soul. The mere smell of wet earth can leave me in paroxysms of joy.

But then there are other times when you need the sun. When you need external warmth to heat your skin and keep the fire burning. When the pervasive melancholy has seeped in and wrapped its silvery shroud around you.

Melancholy and I are well acquainted. We had an intense relationship once upon a time, a story that I'm not sure if I ever want to rewrite. But it was not all miserable. I have never been as creative as in those suspended years. I wrote, I drew, I painted, I composed, I sang. I don't do any so much any more and it's strange sometimes listening to the music that is so closely entwined with then, how much it can invoke in me.

I don't listen to music enough any more, part of it I think is that without the intensity of melancholia it's never felt quite the same. Like sugarfree chocolate. Pleasant enough but not something you'd willingly seek out. A substitute.

I miss the way the opening bars of a song could pierce me, could infiltrate my skin and flood my veins. The way a chorus could rip little holes in my composure, that impenetrable brick wall, until I was screaming it out with no reserve. The way that I could listen to a whole album, 13 songs one after another while lying on my bed and finish that last chord with a tiny shudder and then lie there silent in release, eyes golden, breathing shallowly, spent.

Sometimes it happens again, a song so intense, so perfect, or timed so beautifully with my world that I feel that familiar fire in my blood. The Gleam. A song that makes me want to lie back against the pillows contemplating the images behind my eyelids as sensation arrows through me, heats me, flushes my skin and gilds my iris. Forever imprinting on my brain.

I just don't seek it so much, don't chase the Gleam and it worries me. I have a blog dedicated to the pursuit of the Gleam and yet I spend my day on a treadmill with a TV screen in front of me. I work, I come home, I interact lovingly with my children, I go to sleep. I clean the kitchen when I have a moment, I don't sit back. I don't absorb. I don't release and I don't regenerate.

I woke as the cool greyness of today seeped in as I cocooned myself under the quilt. Curled in around me stroking itself along bare skin like fine spun silk. I tried snuggling further down, pulling the comforter high over my ears and nuzzling the pillow, soft and langurous. Creeping melancholia through my veins. Seeking something, that exsanguination of emotion while blanketed in the greyness. Feeling something swollen within me needing release, a voice, an emotion.

I lay back in my bed, watching the droplets on the window coalesce and race in rivulets down the pane. Wondered if anyone else in the world ever stops to place bets on a crystal droplet of water and feels heavy when she doesn't pick the winner. Watched the breeze ruffle the curtain and felt dampness on my cheek and didn't know if it was precipitation or escaped emotion.

This afternoon, curled up on the couch, ensconced in my softest cotton clothing listening to the continuing rain I am surrounded by music with my laptop on my lap, my knees underneath me as lyrics and chords brush over me featherlight. Skin primed until it is almost electric, soul floating off somewhere away from petty worry. Aroma of freshly made potage parmentier and roast chicken in the air competing with the misty scent of rain lifting from wet earth. Wishing I was living somewhere wilder and more isolated, where I could tramp over waterlogged hills alone. Feel that sharpness as cold air sluices into my lungs.

But instead I'm listening to music that takes me there anyway, and trying to remember why I forget.

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