Soundtrack of my heart / by Christina Rosalie

Sound • track: a thin strip at the edge of a movie reel or videotape on which sound or the soundtrack is recorded

At the edges of my mind there is a narrative, a song, a whisper, a laugh, a sob, a steady pulse. Even in the wildest times, the times most pressed with worry, when there is little air and even less time for reflection, if I listen, I hear it. In the place between the reality of every day, and the wonderment of dreams, is the thin strip of lyrics, the soundtrack that plays out across my consciousness, defining my world.

In bed just before sleep; in the car driving the half hour stretch between our house and apartment listening to jazz on VPR; in the shower with hot water running in rivulets between my shoulder blades where wings would be, if I could fly; or standing at the stove stirring soup, I hear it. This is when I tune in to the words that slip edgewise into the conversation I keep with myself. The things I hardly say out loud, or never. The things of intuition and inkling, that shape my drive, my fears, my love.

Right now I’m trying consciously to tune in. It is hard to do. The dialogue is illusive and when I try to pin it down, it is as though static is lacing the airwaves. When I listen closely I hear this: below the joy of being offered a job I’m excited to accept, and beyond the worry of finding a daycare program for Bean that will nurture him, is the battle cry of my creative self begging not to be abandoned with these upcoming changes.

It is startling to find myself here, on the brink of so much change, again. It’s been just over a year since change tore through our lives like a river in flood, redistributing everything, shifting our very geography, altering our sense of home.

Last May we were packing our house in CT and trying to imagine what life here would be like. I remember sitting at our kitchen table (I loved where it stood, in a nook off the kitchen with a big bay window facing the backyard) looking towards the living room, the hall, the front door, noticing with sudden clarity and attention how familiar those angles and rooms were were. Noticing the quality of light on the tiled kitchen floor; the Prapluie-Revel umbrella poster between the front windows, the jars of sugar and rice on the counter, and wondering how it would be not to call that space “home.” Our first real estate investment, a noteworthy stamp in the passport of adult hood.

This May everything is different, and yet we’re packing again. On the brink of moving to a place saturated with promise. Like honey comb, drenched with sweetness this house is drenched with our hopes, our longings, our dreams. Everything in it bears the mark of what we have become: a family.

This time, as everything shifts; as the river fills with spring rains and floods its banks, and the shape of the valley is forever altered, I want to be more conscious about holding on to the things I’ve grown to love: my artist self, my writer self; my camera’s lens, my runner’s thighs. Looking back I’ve started to see how easily these things slip to the margins of my life, when other louder more demanding things push to the fore. This time I want to keep an ear to the ground, attune to the beating of my heart. This time I need to remain whole, even as my life divides.

The Swan Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river? Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air - An armful of white blossoms, A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies, Biting the air with its black beak? Did you hear it, fluting and whistling A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall Knifing down the black ledges? And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds - A white cross streaming across the sky, its feet Like black leaves, its wings like the stretching light of the river? And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything? And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for? And have you changed your life?

--Mary Oliver