Friday, December 16, 2016

Favorite Things: Music

T'is the season to put all of my many Christmas Pandora stations into circulation.  I like the idea of being able to acquire and curate one's own playlist as can be done through other music vehicles but I like Pandora because:

1) I used it way back in the day and for some reason I feel like we humans (or maybe just, we old people)  like whatever was the first.

And 2) I like the randomness. 

I like a startling surprise and even a horrible repulsion (Pentatonix-- or any a'cappella group, no offense).  One such surprise took place a few days ago and I've since done a bit of exploring and am enjoying it even more.  My new favorite Christmas band:

Future of Forestry

The band consists of one member, Eric Owyoung who hires on collaborators according to album and tour.  According to the Wikipedia page, it is described as a  "melodic ambient rock alternative band," which sort of made me laugh as I mentally checked off, a la Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, "me, me, me again..."  

I've only listened to two songs thus far so I guess my conclusions are fresh and not completely cemented, but the one song that gave me the startling surprise was Still Still Still.  Beautiful.  Nothing better than a beautiful falsetto with an edge.  (Watch it here, or scroll down for it.) The second song I listened to was Silent Night. Just as beautiful. Both songs from the Christmas album Advent.  I want to join this band.

Apparently it's both Christian and secular-themed music. I've never dabbled much into Christian music outside of my own particular realm of worship. I've always considered it a bit too cheesy for me (no offense. Remember, everything is forgiven if you just keep saying no offense), an opinion I hold including music within my own faith.  But I really don't have much experience. And, obviously the exception is Christmas music, where anything good is allowed.  But I read an interview with Eric Owyoung who believes in God and had started a band with his wife, whom he divorced 10+ years ago. After that he started this new Forestry band, named after a C.S. Lewis poem which I will display in a moment because why not? We could all use a little more Clive Staples in our lives.

But back to the interview I read.  (link at bottom of the page) Mr. Owyoung seems a very God-driven person and allows his life to be guided spiritually.  He describes the feelings he had when he was divorced, how painful it was and how he struggled afterward.  He described marriage as 2 becoming 1 but divorce is like 1 becoming 2 halves, and for a long time he felt like half of a person. Many years ago I heard this same description from a woman who'd also been divorced. I remember thinking, as she shared her feelings, how we must all feel that way from time to time. Not entirely whole.  Eric Owyoung shared his experience after the divorce, of driving, just driving, to find some answers or a sense of who he was, that he might discover he was who he claimed he believed he was and had taught to others, which is loved by God. Able to be loved.  He said he drove up the coast and ended up in the Redwood Forest. Surrounded by such an enormous presence of nature and godliness-- trees that had been around since the time of Jesus, Eric touched them, and felt a spiritual connection and the presence of God befall him.  He felt watched, he felt known, he felt understood, and he felt loved.  

He has since remarried and leans on his wife for support and reassurance, and states that the process of healing continues even now and probably will ever more. Which is probably just a synonym for life and the living of it.  The constant stripping and the healing, stripping and the healing. Filling in the holes, being remade again and again until one day we will be complete.

So here's the poem. Let's read it and let's listen to the songs and maybe feel a little more whole today. 

Future of Forestry
C.S. Lewis

How will the legend of the age of trees
Feel, when the last tree falls in England?
When the concrete spreads and the town conquers
The country’s heart; when contraceptive
Tarmac’s laid where farm has faded,
Tramline flows where slept a hamlet,
And shop-fronts, blazing without a stop from
Dover to Wrath, have glazed us over?
Simplest tales will then bewilder
The questioning children, “What was a chestnut?
Say what it means to climb a Beanstalk,
Tell me, grandfather, what an elm is.
What was Autumn? They never taught us.”
Then, told by teachers how once from mould
Came growing creatures of lower nature
Able to live and die, though neither
Beast nor man, and around them wreathing
Excellent clothing, breathing sunlight –
Half understanding, their ill-acquainted
Fancy will tint their wonder-paintings
Trees as men walking, wood-romances
Of goblins stalking in silky green,
Of milk-sheen froth upon the lace of hawthorn’s
Collar, pallor in the face of birchgirl.
So shall a homeless time, though dimly
Catch from afar (for soul is watchfull)
A sight of tree-delighted Eden.

Still Still Still
Future of Forestry

Read original interview here.

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