Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Reaching out and reaching in

The other night in my balletone class (don't ask), during our "cool down," the instructor put on some Sarah McLachlan as we were stretching and I almost got all misty-eyed. Sarah has a big effect on me sometimes... I get all nostalgic when I sit down and really listen to it, because her music sort of defined my life in high school. Not the lyrics, of course, since they are borderline inscrutable and most definitely lovey-dovey, but just the presence of the music itself.

I listened to her music after cross-country practice every day for four years, usually while I was spread out on my floor in front of my CD player. I listened to Sarah in the car while driving to school. I listened to her while studying. I even went to Lillith Fair one year (with our unappreciative Argentine exchange student), and was enraptured for Sarah's entire performance, even when two lesbians spilled beer on my blanket. (They offered to buy me another one, but I said no since I was driving. And sixteen.)

The first time I heard Sarah McLachlan was at cross-country camp, the summer going into my freshman year of high school, almost TEN years ago. Whoa. After our grueling morning workout, we used to come back to the cabin and pop on Surfacing while we took our nap before the afternoon workout. "It's good sleeping music," said one of my teammates. And it was.

About a week after camp ended, I went to the mall and bought Surfacing. The girl behind the counter said, "Oh my God, isn't this album great? I love Sarah McLachlan." I took that CD home and listened to it on repeat throughout that entire cross-country season. My favorite song was "Adia," but I loved all of the songs on that album, even "Last Dance," which my cousin Megan lovingly refers to as the Sad Drunken Clown Song.

I maintained my devotion to Sarah throughout high school. I bought all of her albums and listened to them religiously. When my dad bought me tickets to Lillith Fair, I freaked. The concert was Meadowbrook, a big outdoor ampitheater. I was forced to bring our surly exchange student, who had NO appreciation for the event, of course. Ingrate. We sat impatiently through Queen Latifah, the Dixie Chicks, and Martina McBride before Sarah took the stage. Totally worth the wait. She was incredible.

Throughout college and up to today, I never stopped listening to Sarah, but for some reason, when my balletone instructor put on "Hold On" during our calf stretches the other night, it made me realize anew how great Sarah McLachlan really is. I even like her weird, wail-y songs, and her hazy, strange lyrics. I love her, plain and simple.

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