Why I Love The Creek Drank The Cradle
"Love is a tired symphony
To hum when you're awake
Love is a crying baby
Mama warned you not to shake
Love is the best sensation
Hiding in the lion's mane."
There are some albums that can heal you. The Creek Drank The Cradle is one such album. Every time I feel stressed or anxious I put it on, and by the time the opening track Lion's Mane is over I am transported to a soft and peaceful place. It is not that I don't like the albums Sam Beam, better known as Iron & Wine, has made since 2002 but there is nothing anywhere near the level of dreamy atmosphere to be found on his debut.
The first woman I loved was someone who didn't love me. Maybe she liked me as a friend, maybe she didn't. I'm not too sure on the details. She was nonetheless a perfect soul. She was kind as all hell and befriended me when I felt I didn't deserve friends. She was with a good friend of mine for many years and as ashamed as I am to say it, I hoped they would break up so I would get my chance to be with her. When they finally did, it was clear nothing was ever going to happen. By telling her how I felt I ruined our friendship.
The Creek Drank The Cradle is the album I listen to when I want to remember those times. It recalls that warm feeling so well, when everything in my life seemed possible. Being close to someone who you love gives you a reason to live. Sharing music can be a good stand in for sleeping with someone. If you touch their heart with a song, you are expressing your love. This love is mine and even though it will never be answered, sometimes it is enough to keep you on the road.
My favourite song on the album is Upward Over The Mountain, a low down, desperate, achingly beautiful paean to love between a mother and son. It is full of magic.
"Mother don't worry, I killed the last snake that lived in the creek bed
Mother don't worry, I've got some money I saved for the weekend
Mother remember being so stern with that girl who was with me?
Mother remember the blink of an eye when I breathed through your body?"
I remember telling my mother about this woman I loved. She lifted me up and made me feel better for my failures. And most surprising of all, my good friend who was in a long term relationship with this woman was gentle and good to me. He understood how I felt and he respected my love.
I never wanted to be who I am. I wanted acceptance from people who could never accept me. I wanted love from people who could never love me. Promising Light is the hope that someone, somehow could love me. "Now I see love, there on your side of my empty bed." When I finally got a girlfriend some years ago, I tried my best to bring that light into my life. I tried to take someone who I liked and make them into someone I loved. Through my own callousness and litany of issues I ruined that relationship. I never fully appreciated how great she was to me and how much she cared for me.
"Found a photo of you when we were married
Leaning back on a broken willow tree
That's one memory that I choose to carry
A weary memory I can always see."
I still hope that I will find someone who I love who loves me back. I have a lot of love to give. It brings me down to think of how much time I have wasted. Through music like The Creek Drank The Cradle, I am able to fight another day. I believe that I have some purpose to fulfill. Love transmitted through soundwaves is a powerful thing. Hold onto it tight. It won't let you fall. It is now and has been for a long time a key to my salvation. I still feel that love for her, even though it has long wandered into dream territory. It still makes me feel human and alive. That hope won't die.