All your life you've never seen a woman taken by the wind. Enchantress extraordinaire, Mother Music, Stevie Nicks. And although she may be referencing the sylph-like sorceress Rhiannon with this particular lyric, there is no question that the woman we really love to love is Ms Nicks herself. Well I do, at least. Needless to say, I near-on wet myself on hearing today's announcement of her forthcoming Australian tour. She's made magic with Ringo Starr, Tom Petty, and Rod Stewart, and there's that little old thing she had going with Buckingham, Fleetwood & McVee; her music has been emulated by acts ranging from the Smashing Pumpkins and Hole, to the Dixie Chicks and The Corrs, such is the breadth and appeal of her artistry. Ergo, I had to post a clip. Despite not being a Nicks' original, it's one of my favourites. A tad intense if you find the dialogue is hitting a little too close to home, but still all-time. *Sheryl Crow also rules. As always.
The woman could be you. A pair of long, thin arms hang limply at her sides, not knowing what to do. Not knowing when to move, where to go, how to feel. Idle arms are they, who have in turn given life to idle hands. Empty hands that might pass as things of beauty, if not for their profound uncertainty. By all accounts timid hands, meek and unimposing, yet not altogether boring. On the contrary; hers are hands that know too much, have been too exposed, too involved. Hands lacking not in wisdom, but in compassion. Closed to the world, fingers coiled around one another, clenched hungrily against a wrinkled palm. Delicate and diffident. Vacillating. Aquiver with ravenous fear.
Holy fuck Justin Vernon. I need to quit your music, at the risk of it becoming the number one soundtrack to my sorrow. Yes, I’m well aware this latest track is a cover, but you elicited enough tears with For Emma that I’m on a self-imposed ban. And now you up and get involved in this.
There’s a lot to be said for following your heart. For knowing its each and every nuance. For riding out the skipped beats, leaning into an impending corner; for letting the rhythm become deafening, even when it’s more cacophony than harmony; for bathing it in warm sunlight, removing the splinters with equal parts love and determination, swaddling it in fleeced cotton; for watering the garden and being open to both weeds and roses. For regarding the lines as cracks, and not faultlines. For gliding with the wind rather than bracing against it.
There is, however, more to be said for not following your heart. For ignoring it, for building a defence and creating a case and finding loopholes. For arguing against this tortured heart that bleeds and beats and burns in blackened bursts; for relegating it to the backseat, silencing it, slipping it a discarded pacifier. For dismissing its express wishes as little more than romantic virtue.
The mind hungers for logic. It will seek reason, will run you ragged, deplete you far beyond the reaches of exhaustion. It will find ways and means, justifications and excuses, analyses and contingencies. Launching plans of attack and assault on what is ultimately your own person, assailing your last remaining vestiges of happiness. It is a labour in vain, the mind’s furtive attempt to restore harmony by renouncing the heart.
Even when we can never truly know the heart of another, we can know our own. Know its depths. Its yearnings. Its restlessness. Its torment. Its true motivations. The same cannot be said for the mind, which, in times of turmoil, is oft known to resort to trickery and deceit.
To accept the emotion of the heart is to know the deepest self-love imaginable, one that the mind could never comprehend. Feel first. The greatest lesson I’ve ever learned.