Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with the Humans of New York project, in which a very normal guy has started a wildly successful photo blog that simply pauses to bring notice to every day people and the stories they are found in (currently taking place in Iran). I love the way it has forced Brandon Stanton, the photographer, to see and savor the very “normal” moments that everyone else passes by.
I remember encountering a similar sentiment when I devoured Ken Gire’s book, Windows of the Soul, and particularly his reflections on springtime, which was conveniently taking place outside as I read. I started to realize all the lessons to be learned within the story nature was telling on a routine basis. Chief among them: in the thick of winter, when everything is dead, it’s hard to even fathom the notion of everything turning green again. But every year the miracle happens. Life resurrects. And every year I’m surprised.
To me, the rising sun in springtime operates a lot like the grace. There’s nothing you can do but wait for it to happen, but it’s inevitable that it will. Grace is tricky and mysterious and hard to get ahold of. It doesn’t quite make predictable sense, but it tells the most beautiful stories.
I met a friend for donuts every Monday at 6 am for a year or two while living in Kansas City. I loved the feeling of getting up before sunrise (once I had the first round of coffee in me), and driving home I carried a strange pride at the fact that most people were only now beginning their day while I was already well into it. I also began to make observations on those “normal” moments. That’s how the first lyrics emerged:
“When the shadows are long, when the day meets the dawn,
you’ll find me singing along with you, waiting for grace to rise.”
Props to Kara Pennington, a multi-talented friend who has the tender, piercing voice that accompanies this track. She also sings one of my favorite lines on the project: “I never knew it could be so beautiful and still so gray.” That’s spring for you, and that’s the glory of life on the edge of the in between.