One perfectly beautiful day in September, when fall already felt like it was very much upon us, and the vibrancy of summer, we thought, had long since passed, Eric and I took out our camera and embarked upon putting a vision to video. It’s clear now, here in mid-February, with the ground thickly covered with white and the only thing left in the gardens naked stalks and the remnants of seed heads I left for the birds, that the liveliness of the season was still very much with us then. It was comfortable enough for me to hike up the creek at sunset without a sweater, and the angle of the light was such that we filmed for hours without the sun slipping behind the escarpment in mere moments as it does now.
Our album Kiku is set for release on April 13th, and is a deeply personal concept record. When we started writing these songs we weren’t thinking about how someday we would share them, and have to explain them, and be encouraged to talk about them in all their soul-exposing depth and heart-wrenching meaning. We just started writing. At some point healing began to occur, and we realized that part of healing means talking about your pain. Sharing it so that others who might be experiencing a similar thing feel less alone. But that doesn’t make it easy. Announcing this album and everything it means has been filled with fear, doubt, and reluctance. There are times when I just want to crawl into a hole and forget about the whole project. But I am a stubborn Taurus and eventually I realize that’s just not possible. I am exposing the most vulnerable parts of myself. Bits of me that are so raw and tender they are unrecognizable to me. But sometimes that’s what it takes to shift stigma, to create change, and hope, and support networks for others who have or will experience this in the future. By sharing I am saying that it IS possible to turn pain into beauty.
About the album:
Kiku, the Japanese word for chrysanthemum, began blooming in our farmhouse garden immediately following our second miscarriage, and so became a symbol of our grief, despair, resilience and faith. Kiku grew into something we never anticipated. What started only as vague sounds or plucked songs, grew unexpectedly into a kind of synth-folk chamber-pop. As we grieved, we wrote, and as we recorded we felt ourselves reaching out across the plane of the living and the dead where we stumbled upon the tiny hand of the soul we lost. We brought a piece of her, of Kiku, back with us. It was as if Kiku shared her spirit through the creation of her eponymous requiem.
Writing these songs was incredibly healing. They were our companion while we struggled with the recurring pain of loss, anxiety, and the unknown. They were our companion while we subsequently faced four years of unexplained infertility. And they unexpectedly served as a source of comfort during the final production stages of the album when we suffered our third breath-taking loss. Sometimes life is strange.
About the video:
“Soon” was intended as a metaphor for the stages of grief. The chrysanthemums represent grief itself. We carry grief around with us, often to unlikely places. We try at times to let it go, to fling our grief from great heights or hope it’s carried off by time -an offering to the flowing waters of the hills. But ultimately we find ourselves steeping in it, drowning in it, and ideally cleansed by it in a baptism of intentional release. Allowing ourselves to stop fighting forces us to experience things that, as humans, we often try desperately to avoid. Allowing ourselves to dance in glowing sunlight empowers us to reclaim our spirit. And we are transported to a deeper place of understanding of one’s self and of the human experience as we know it. “Soon” is an expression of painful hope and illuminated heart.