Strength In Voices

It is Women’s Singing Night at the end of a full shift at the coffeehouse. On three hours’ sleep and a double Americano I’m a little weary of singing. In order to sing with my heart I have to be willing to open my heart, which is presently reluctant and raw.

But when we start with a round,

The love your deepest heart desires
is offered with every breath you take.
The rose whose scent you seek
is blooming at your very feet.

I finally have permission to drop the burden of the last twenty-four hours and fall head-long into song, lost in the cadence and melodies, the chasing syllables and lyrical content. We must be a picture of mountain beauty: the three of us picnicking on the top of Conley Ridge outside the craft school coffeehouse, sirens serenading the ghostly-misted hills of Appalachia.

Peg teaches Noelle and I “Savo Voda,” a Croation love song about a woman who is drowning herself in love for her male companion. The song is slow and long with six verses in three-part harmony. A few people shuffle by on the gravel path in front of where we drink wine, overlooking the view. They smile, reflecting our light back to us in a second-glance over-the-shoulder look back and I allow, for a moment, the pure loveliness of our efforts to settle like the truth in a dark room.

We are beautiful, strong, suffering, and human. We are eating life raw, knowing the tawny pulp of it as if life were a mango, our picnic table at the top of the tree, the oblong pit glowing and juicy when we open our mouths to sing and reveal the pit-bottoms of our own hearts.

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