The fiddle, the field, and killing me softly

This is an extract from my journal entry I wrote this morning, which I thought I might share. It’s about playing my fiddle, and singing “killing me softly” on repeat, and how turning 30 has welcomed in so much more self-acceptance, and banished so many old fears to the far edges of the field in my mind. That field now has an abundance of different plants growing in it. Exuberant flowers, climbing things, leafy stalks, modest ground covers. They are all here because I have learned how to stop pulling them out, and let them grow. 

I had an interesting experience a couple of weeks ago, when my partner and I were on a trip around South-Western VIC. I was playing my fiddle again after a very long time, in a room in a house we were staying in. The room had wooden floors, and lots of glass windows, and the dimensions and reflections of the room were such that as I played, I could feel the sound vibrating, almost groaning in my chest. It was a feeling I’d had before in other wooden-floored, live spaces, but I had completely forgotten about it in all the years my fiddle had been in its case. 

Fast forward to this Monday, when I was sitting home alone with my guitar on my lap. Out of the blue, a song came to me - one that I’ve always been curious about, but that I had ultimately dismissed as being “daggy”, something you’d hear in the background as you wander through the supermarket, wondering what to get for tonight’s dinner. 

But here it was. I looked up the chords and found Roberta Flack’s version on youtube, and played and sang along. The chords washed through me, and calmed me right through to my core. I’d never properly heard the verses of the song, and they now revealed to me what “killing me softly with his song” meant. 

The verses describe the experience of going to a live gig, and being completely transfixed by a performer, who seems to know exactly what’s at the heart of things that you have experienced yourself.  

That connection that happens at live gigs, between you and the performer, and you and your soul, is something I and so many of us have missed so deeply this year. 

This song made me feel that deep connection again, and it was a similar feeling to the one I’d had playing my fiddle. At the very roots of it is no longer being ashamed of myself, and allowing myself the freedom to play whatever song or tune comes into my head. Not worrying about being heard or judged. None of that stuff matters anymore, especially during this time of having been starved of live, in-person musical experiences for so long. 

So I’ve got my gardening boots on, and my magic watering can, and I’m walking out into that field of flowers and grasses. Everything I see, I’m going to water it. I’m not going to worry about what anyone else thinks of the plants. What matters is that they are growing, and I’m growing with them.

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