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May 2009


I was listening to Leonard Cohen this weekend...I mean really listening. Consider the lyrics to a verse in the song "Suzanne":

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

This song was written probably more than 40 years ago. Perhaps it was written about a moment that actually happened to him. There was probably no real future for him and Suzanne. But to hear it sung takes you right there, makes that moment real, important, and immortal.  When we are really listening, the best songs remind us of the importance of the moment in our lives.

We are so caught in our plans, our fears, our goals, society's rules and arbitrary morality...that most people don't understand the importance of a moment. Yet when you listen to this song, lying in a sunny room on a Sunday afternoon, it overtakes all of those other things.  The idea of a moment becomes big and important.

And what if Leonard Cohen had been afraid or too busy to go down to that river? We would never have that song...that moment never would have been.

I suppose I have a slightly different take on this theme in my song "Insecurities".  It isn't as effective as Leonard's because I'm not describing a single moment..but it makes the point of this post.

I know you've got those plans and all
I want to take you from this mall
Ride bikes far from this urban sprawl
Lie side-by-side in leaves beneath a tree so tall

You want this lifestyle to last forever
When you can't even stand today
You see fears where I see colors
Don't live a life a day away