Monday, March 15, 2010
At pivotal times that self-definition changed; when I crossed the threshold to young womanhood; when I got my first regular job; when I left home; married; bore children; raised children. I adjusted the description as I went.
The hardest adjustment, so far, came when the rooms to this house began to empty. One by one the children who had been such a part of my self definition; whose laughter and tears and arguments and cheers had reverberated through these walls, pointed their feet away from the back door and flew to their own destinies.
Empty. It’s a powerful word. It sounds like it feels. Empty rooms, empty chairs. Empty hours late at night, when the silence was deafening. I struggled to re-define who I was and what my role was now that the big busy was over.
What I discovered was the man sitting across the dinner table from me. He was not the man who slid the ring onto my finger all those years ago. His self definition had changed as well. Of course we knew each other…we lived together, slept together…we had raised children together, run political campaigns, lugged equipment to and from musical gigs…together. And yet I wondered if we knew, deeply, who it was we were bound to forever.
All of our children had graduated from high school except for Annie. She was a Senior. That’s when Guillain Barre Syndrome hit me. In a matter of days I was paralyzed in my legs, arms and part of my face. It was moving into my vital organs when it finally stopped. I don’t know why it stopped, whether it was Dr. Ericksen giving me massive does of steroids or not, but I did not end up dead or on life support. However I did end up spending quite a bit of time in hospitals and Dr offices. My sister Libby was constantly at my side while I underwent test after test to determine what was wrong. They drew 37 vials of blood, took samples of everything, pushed me into CAT scan and MRI machines, stuck needles into my wrists and feet then fired electrical currents through my body. They tapped into my spine, rapped my unresponsive reflexes over and over. Lib was a gift of a companion to me then, since Dave was out of town at the time. He was with our friends Mary and Gary, out on their sail boat in the middle of the Caribbean. When we finally reached him he found the first airport they could get to and flew home. For the next few months Dave lovingly and tenderly nurtured me. He did for me what I could not do for myself. And I had to let him. He filled the need with such love and devotion that it sealed our hearts together all over again. This was a gift. A gift from a divine source.
Dave and I have common history. We have common children, common family ties, common living quarters and a common faith. They all led to an uncommon love. I love him with all that is in me…down to the very tips of my toes.
My favorite lines in this song are:
We gave our word (marriage) then gave it flesh (children)
Endured the worst, embraced the rest.
I’ve been told to embrace all of what life gives us. I tried that. But some of it is just plain not embraceable. Those are the things we simply endure.
When we were recording this song I teased Carla and Mark, who were at the sound board. I sang these words:
We gave our word, then gave it flesh
And you’re the worst, and I’m the best
Makes me smile remembering that.
So many of my songs are about the past, about things that have moved me or charmed me. Common Ground is one of the few that speaks my heart at this very moment. It makes me long for Dave, even if he is just in the other room. I thank the Lord of all good things for blinding him all those years ago, just so he might look my way.
The night was young
The moon was up
The truth was out
We were in love
The field was thick
With autumn wheat
Your lips were warm
And soft and sweet
CHORUS: Oh I am there again with you
And there is no one else around
Where harvest wheat and passion grew
On common ground
We gave our word
Then gave it flesh
Endured the worst
Embraced the rest
And babies came
And babies grew
But they had wings
And off they flew
Now I am here again with you
And there is no one else around
Where love was born and where it grew
On common ground
BRIDGE: Between the place where we began and where we’re standing
There’s been a lot of common earth beneath our feet
And though the ground is worn, it still receives the planting
And offers up extraordinary wheat
The nest is large
And we are small
The nights grow long
But through it all
I feel your breath
Against my skin
And what was old
Is new again
Oh I am here and you should know
That there is no one else around
Oh my love will always grow
On this, our common ground
When I opened the files on my computer to retrieve this lyric I found this note about the day this song was completed:
Sept.7, 2003 4:22 AM Timothy (our first grandson) was blessed today; David was baptized 29 years ago today; and all of our children left for college this week.