Split Tracks

Under overcast skies, I returned to the mountain earlier this evening. I set off on the path leading up to the chalet, with hiking poles at my sides, and a new pair of pink iPod buds planted in my ears.

I walked and walked, planting one foot in front of the other, with each step my left foot pleading with me to take a break, yet also leading me closer to the summit – my goal for today, just because it was there.

At first, since I was so immersed in my body’s motion of the moment, I didn’t notice that something was amiss with the audio input. But, once I was in flow, it dawned on me that the sound-tracks were split with the main one barely audible; all I heard were muted background vocals, an occasional bass line and strings. Here and there, if I listened very intently, my ears caught a glimmer of the main vocal track, with normally powerful voices sunken into the distance, lending them an ethereal, other-worldly edge. For the first time, I heard the melancholy string section, as if playing solo, on one of my favorite tunes by Everything But the Girl.

Split tracks. Surely it was no coincidence that my attention was diverted to those split tracks. A reflection, undoubtedly, of my mental state the past couple of weeks; trying to stay on track with my goals for recovery, my plans for work and life… but all the while, a secondary and (now) more powerful track running parallel, grabbing my attention, calling for action, for prayer, for love and presence.

If, since my accident, I’ve been in rehearsal, practicing the part of lead vocal in my renewed life, that goal now barely registers or matters. For now, a stronger voice than mine permeates my every day, perhaps because the musical understudy in my life till now, has slipped – of necessity and not off her own choice – into the main role. Now she is the leading lady, the booming vocals on my (our) life’s track. If I can support her current role, if I can buttress the harsh spotlights that she now faces, then I accept a secondary role and hope that there is healing even in this part.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…

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