Somewhere during our drive to Cherokee Nation, at a time between the 10 hours after the start of our journey in Iowa and the 2 hours till our destination in Oklahoma, we drove past vast open land.
We’d been listening to playlists put together by all of us specially for the trip, but after 10 hours, even the catchiest, most exciting song turns into day-old soda — flat and unappealing.
The sun was setting, most of us had just awakened from car naps, and conversation slowed to almost a lull. We were driving past vast plains, there was nothing outside to distract us. No bright lights, no billboards and advertisements, no brightly-lit stores. Just the open flat lands, the odd clusters of trees, and the soft tangerine glow of the sun dipping below the horizon.
R. Kelly’s “I’m a Flirt” was playing for the millionth time that day, and I remember thinking, this is not working. Twilight moments like this need twilight-moment worthy songs.
So I plugged in my iPod and played this one song. Someone went, “Yes, this is perfect.”
Someone else agreed that it is, indeed, the ideal sunset song.
This song needs to be heard on a pair of headphones, or on quality speakers.
It is not a song to listen to when you’re pressed for time, or if you’re feeling impatient, or if you feel like singing along to something.
It’s not a song to listen to with friends, or to play at a party, or to dance to.
It doesn’t get your body into any sort of rhythm, it may not even make you smile.
But it’s the kind of song that, if you listen to it under appropriate conditions, if you allow it to, will envelop you, engulf you in its sheer haunting beauty.
It detaches you from your surroundings, hauls you to a place so far away, so you feel alone, close to nature, a solitary You in a tranquil, serene world where no Other exists.
Jump off the end
into a clear lake
No one around
flying to the sides
Often, towards the end of the song, I find my breathing stilled. It’s as though you drift along with the music, willingly wandering off to the depths of nature, far beyond human reach, to a realm of very delicate, dreamlike beauty; and earthly, corporeal needs such as breathing, talking, swallowing (of saliva lol, I accidentally drooled once while listening to this) do not matter.
Slide your hand
jump off the end
The water’s clear
And towards the end, the determined piano strokes taper off, leaving a medley of bird tweets and bug chirps to permeate the space, filling your mind with vivid images of a lush tree canopy that opens up to reveal the sparkling waters of a carefully tucked away lake. And after a whirlwind of an ethereal journey, there you are, transported back to earthly reality.
You need to listen to this, it’s a favor you need to do for yourself.
Like all moms are required to repeat time and again — don’t try, never know.