Friday, February 19, 2010

Easy Silence by The Dixie Chicks

. . . smuggled guns use in cartel hits . . . 3 killed when plane hits house . . . N.J. Man Tells Cops He Threw Baby Off Bridge. . . high school in lockdown over gun threat . . . Snipers Bedevil U.S. Troops. . . abuse, violence, neglect, pain, suffering, life, sometimes it’s just all too much to take.

It all just makes you tired sometimes. The way a dark, cold winter day saps away your strength, the darkness of the world tears at your spirit. Some days I don’t want to turn on the television or even leave the house so I don’t have to face all the terrors that are unfortunately part of the human condition. However, ever I day I get up, go to work do the best I can at my job and even though some days it’s more of a struggle than others I haven’t given up yet and I think I know why.

When the Dixie Chicks released Taking The Long Way, their response to the overblown criticism they received for making a joke about President Bush (W.) during the early days of the Iraq war their lead single was “Not Ready To Be Nice.” This incredible statement of strength and conviction is one of my favorite songs of all time (I reflected on this song and the controversy in this earlier post).

What opened their album Taking The Long Way, was not this forceful and passionate anthem but a personal, soft, love song, “Easy Silence.” This unique and touching statement of gratitude is one of the Dixie Chicks finest and most nuanced works and one of Diana’s, my wife’s favorite songs.

Finding her most personal expression not in belting but singing softly as a mother to her child, Natalie Maines lists of the pressures of the world. Starting with smooth alliteration, “calls and conversations, accidents and accusations, messages and misperceptions.” Maines reflects how these things “paralyze my mind.” The anger in the second verse builds to a need for something to believe in. Where she finds her sanity, her peace, herself at the end of the day is in this “easy silence.”

As Maines lists off all of the things that tear her down there is not so much anger but sadness. The steady guitar strumming creates a feeling of security in the predictability of the beat but also adds a level of tension as it never ceases like the world turning. Violin lines intertwine in the middle range of the instrument as they search for meaning within all of the madness.

At the core of this song is what Maines describes as her "easy silence." This moment is the security of being at home, being held by a loved one. It’s the sanctuary of faith, of hope. It’s knowing that the sun will come up tomorrow and that as much as people fall in the depth of the human heart there are many who raise above and continue to bring light into the world.

In the insanity of the world, the constant information, there is true peace in silence. Being there for someone isn’t so much what you say but your presence, not only physically but mentally and emotionally being there.

When someone is completely there for you and with you they create a place where nothing can harm you. It’s a place that pain can be felt, tears can be cried and where in this catharsis we find the strength to go on.

Through the magic of music the Dixie Chicks have created silence through music.

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