8. grateful (5:31): for all the blessings, the joy, for life itself.
GRATEFUL from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood
we drove the kettle moraine scenic drive yesterday…it was the celebration of our anniversary and we had arranged to take off…everything was lined up…dogdog care by 20…snacks…everything work-related done ahead of time. on the travel wisconsin website we found this beautiful tour through back roads and areas of fall color that looked like calendars that you buy in stationery stores. once we got out of the endless whitewater loop we seemed to be hilariously stuck in, we ambled our way north, catching our breath around curves and topping hills formed long ago by geological earth movement. fall color was everywhere, especially the further we drove. we missed the selfie stands that were sporadically placed along the way. but we didn’t miss traffic. or highways. or towns. or strip malls. it was a breath out of regular life. a chance to just be together, without work or worries or tasks or errands. to talk or be silent. to sing to john denver on baby scion’s cd player. to gorge on snacks and sip an espresso at a little coffeehouse. it was the cello line of our day, this drive. the lift of every breath.
i distinctly remember recording this. i was at yamaha artist services in nyc and it was winter. the word “peace” was on a list of words i wanted to use as titles for pieces. “peace” is a big word for me….i’ve talked about how there are peace signs and the word peace all over our home and it was no different when i wrote this. the trouble with writing and using a big word is that you feel an imperative to make it count. there is a kind of heavy emphasis on this choice to use THIS word as a title – that you write well enough to support such a big word, that you do it justice, that it FEELS what the word feels like. it’s super-charged with self-induced pressure.
but the moments i spent composing this were extraordinarily special and i was wrapped in a cloak of peacefulness and love. it is not a complex piece of music; it has a repeating theme and, like a song with lyrics, returns to that theme again and again. like statement-question-answer-lift-statement-question-answer-lift structure.
“it’s fine” ken, in his infinite wisdom, orchestrated this so my heart weeps with gratitude each time i listen. cello lines and strings and french horn pull the simple melody out of the place of simplicity and reach, for me, a depth of being.
every artist has compositions that are their favorites, the ones that really express who they are. maybe it’s because i can so distinctly remember initially recording this. maybe it’s because i remember being back in the studio in chicago with ken as he tracked the other instrumentation. maybe it’s because it’s THAT word, the piece with THAT title. regardless of the reason, THIS is one of mine.
PEACE from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood