I was struck by a blog post today. Science writer Emily Willingham wrote a post titled ‘The ghost in you‘. No, I had only the vaguest recollections of the song, I certainly did not know the words. The method of time travel, however, was well known. Just as the scent of (dried) pine needles will send me back to the summers of my childhood and the scent of drying leaves will send me back to that one fall when the rain gave us a break, music can send me back in an instant. “Have you, having reached adulthood, middle age, listened to the music of your teens?” she asks. I have, and especially when I accidentally stumble over music, soundtracks to what seemed like major events in my life, I’ve been sent back to heartbreak, despair, longing, failure, but also to hope, opportunity, friendship and occasional brief moments of pure bliss.
There’s been times when I’ve feared that that sixteen-year old was all gone. Who she was? Not at all happy with her position in life, not at all self confident, and yet, she was open, trusting, ready for the opportunities she thought would HAVE to come, some time. And she was right. Good things were to come. I’ve looked back, many times, and wondered where that stubborn openness came from. It’s not with me any more, and I miss it.
Still, this sixteen year old is there, within me. I’ve just kept adding layers. Like an otolith, like a tree ring, it’s a recording of a stage I’ve gone through, the conditions I’ve enjoyed or braved. And sometimes, music acts as little tardises, time machines and spacecrafts sending me back. Here are some samples :