Some books are so familiar, reading them feels like being home again.
On my bookshelves, you’ll find books in all manner of states: those that look as if they’ve just come out of the shipping box, those with decent lines on the binding, those with pages that look well turned. And then you’ll find the ones that fall flat when you open them, the ones that have many-times-dog-eared pages, that bear stains – water spots from a bath or tears, the ghost of coffee or soda – and sometimes underlined passages or notes written carefully in the margin.
Those are the books I turn to when I need comfort. When I’m missing a particular time in my life or a particular person. When I’m sick. When I’m lonely. Or when I’m just feeling out of sorts with the world. Sometimes, just reading a few pages will be enough to soothe me, to make me comfortable in my own skin. To give me the peace I need to keep moving through the world.
Of course, books aren’t my only refuge. There are songs (and even whole albums) that give me those feelings of surety, safety, and comfort.
Jane Siberry’s “It Can’t Rain All the Time” is possibly my most favorite comfort song. Back in high school, I started a tradition of watching The Crow every fall. (I still hold to that tradition. It’s one of my favorite movies and my favorite love stories.) And whenever I hear it can’t rain all the time, the sky won’t fall forever… I’m immediately transported to my old bedroom, on a warm desert evening in October, the smell of incense (Angel Dreams or China Moon) heavy in the air, deceased lovers reunited on my television, and the feeling that even in the most desperate, darkest moments of life, light will find a way to break through.
Here are a few of my safe and familiar songs. The ones that put me at ease, give me comfort, give me hope, make me dream of beautiful, impossible things.
What are some of yours?
1. It Can’t Rain All the Time – Jane Siberry
2. Hallelujah – John Cale
3. Wild Child – Enya
4. Lullaby – Arcady
5. Seven – David Bowie
6. Into the West – Annie Lennox