Category: mix cd

I remember the sound…

I can see my breath in the air as my gloved hands fumble for the play button. I’m indoors, if you can call the space between two rusted and dented white sheets of metal indoors, but it will take over half an hour for the slow and chugging heat to fill the car. By that time, I’ll almost be home. For now, I have a hat, gloves and a new mix CD to keep me warm.

The first few bars fill the car as I pull out of the parking lot. Already, I can feel myself relaxing, easing into the sense of rightness that this song instantly creates in me. I have never listened to it before but it feels like I have been hearing it my whole life. Of course it exists. So perfect, it fills my heart and head and leaves me unable to imagine the time, short minutes ago, before I’d heard it.

How pale is the sky that brings forth the rain
As the changing of seasons prepares me again
For the long bitter nights and the wild winter’s day
My heart has grown cold, my love stored away…

photo by me

Over the next four years, I would listen to the CD hundreds of times. I would cycle through relationships with each song, love and boredom interchangeably. Always changing with my mood, with my age, with my life. But two songs would remain, too perfect to fade.

And every time I hear those chords I’m taken back to that cold December day, shivering in the old Sunfire we lovingly called Blanche, my soul melting into the piano, violin and Allison Krauss’ beautiful voice. My heart hooked on each word that told it’s own story.

I remember. I remember the sound of November and December, the melancholy created by that time of year, a juxtaposition of holiday joy and sadness. I remember a 5am bus to Toronto, watching the rain against the window. I remember the first lines of a song.

I should know who I am by now
I walk the record stand somehow
Thinking of winter
The name is the splinter inside me, while I wait…

I should know who I am by now. The words haunt me still. Each year I’m brought back to this song and the fact that I do not know. I remember thinking that I was following that path, on the road to figuring it out. Who I am. What I want. Where I belong.

This November I feel even further from this. The song has changed again, and it is now a dull ache reminding me that I have not gotten far on this journey, that I’ve been derailed or detoured or taken too many breaks and now I’m too late. Or that maybe I was going the wrong way all along and I’m not even close anymore.

photo of my sister, by me

The first song is Get Me Through December by Allison Krauss, the second is Winter by Joshua Radin. The mix CD, which I call the December CD, was a gift from my Dad and remains one of my favourite presents ever.

How do you measure a year in the life?

#61. Make a mix CD to play at my funeral - include Dancing in the Rain.

525,600 Minutes
“Will my friends be strong, till someone plays my favourite song?”

1. Daydream Believer, the Monkees
This has always been my song. It’s the only song with the ability to make me smile when I’m sad. It’s me. It’s mine. I am the daydream believer.
2. Blackbird, the Beatles
“You were always waiting for this moment to be free.” This song stirs something in my heart. That longing to… live more.
3. Get Me Through December, Allison Krauss and Union Station
The first time I heard this song I thought, ‘Of course this song exists. How could it not?’ It’s never lost that feeling of perfection and wholeness for me. Also, it’s the first song on the winter mix CD my dad made me, one of my all time favourite mixes. I love my Daddy. This song is on there for him.
4. Samson, Regina Spektor
Never, ever fails to take my breath away.
5. Cathedrals, Jump Little Children
“There is a feeling that you should just go home and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.”
6. Affirmation, Savage Garden
My first love.
7. I Will Follow You Into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie
8. Hey There Delilah, the Plain White Tees
Someday, I will have a daughter named Delilah. This one’s for her, and for whatever kids I have and for love. Because love doesn’t get any better than this.
9. Swing Life Away, Rise Against
At sixteen, this song felt like it was written about me.
10. Constellations, Jack Johnson
For the moments of feeling infinite and like there’s something bigger than you. For the sky so big it breaks your soul.
11. Walking By, Something Corporate
For love.
12. For Good, Wicked
Because Fae is my Elphaba. Because there is no way to describe our seemingly chance encounter years ago other than fate.
13. Everlasting Friend, Blue October
For Fae.
14. Seasons of Love, Rent
Because this musical fills my heart and my head and constantly affects my choices.
15. The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel
For Laura. For car rides.
16. Don’t Stop Believing, Journey
For fun. For small roots and big dreams.
17. Imagine, John Lennon
Self explanatory.
18. Dancing in the Rain, Happy Hardcore
To dance. Always. To finish on a happy note.