Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley at Futureappletree Too
The hell you can be so sure.
The hell you can be certain enough to put a blind hand out there to seek other blind fingers to hold.
The hell you can be positive enough that doing such a thing won't be met with a snip, with two rows of sharp teeth and not a single warning.
The hell you can be sure that the darkness isn't just holding the stars hostage, hanging up there glowing against their will.
The hell you can be certain that you'll change, they'll change or that any of this is carries even the smidgeon of the big picture's dandruff, much less its golden dusk.
Sarah Jarosz, the 22-year-old songwriter from Austin, Texas, makes us contemplate how easy it is to feel like forging ahead with another person can be a consistently building upgrade. It can be bad and get better. It can be good and get more satisfying. All any of it takes is time and the willingness to say, "This can get better and we can change." Dumb luck has a stake here, but that's already been factored in, just like the summer nights have been chalked up to being reliably "hot and still." Hearts can turn and resistance can bend and waffle when faced with a durable enough clock and persistence.
Jarosz forms these thoughts of people coming around to notions, of them softening and accepting of the hands that they've been dealt and they give themselves over to the whims and the winds. It's mostly glorious, as her songs are framed by such old-fashioned, or countrified imagery, like living or standing out amongst the cotton wood trees, like being beside a set of railroad tracks that stretch out and lead to another ellipsis. She sings, "I may be young/I may be old/I may be telling/I may be told." It's just another way of suggesting that you don't know nothin'. You're going to shoot at the moon with the rest of us and see if you strike oil.
*Essay originally published September, 2012