It always strikes me as odd how powerful music is.
I'm not a music-fiend by any means. I can go weeks, months even, without listening to my iPod. I like music, but I listen to NPR more often than music radio. I'm just not on the cutting edge.
But every so often, I will hear a song and memories just come rushing back to me.
Exhibit 1: "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey
Sorority Sister Cristin brought this song to my attention with a Journey's Greatest Hits CD after I blushingly confessed I didn't know the band or their music. Of course I fell in love with the song, but I have one poignant memory that sweeps over me every so often when I hear that song---a memory of me dancing in a bar in Seattle, my friends Jim, Brian and Meigan next to me, all of us shouting, "Don't Stop Believing!" That moment was one of the moments in my life where I paused, looked around and realized how happy I was with my life right then, at that moment. I hear that song now and I ache for my friends and life in Arizona.
Exhibit 2: "Heaven" by DJ Sammy
This song brings me back to my EuroTrash days of studying in Valencia. I remember the first time Amanda, Jessica and I (following some strange boy's instruction) took the bus to a club on the outskirts of town; we paid our 10 Euro entrance fee and went inside to a giant warehouse with the techno pounding, lights spinning, my chesting pumping with the beat of the bass. And the drugs! Everywhere----strangers trying to hand me ecstasy tablets (and the girls vomiting in the bathrooms). I have this gorgeous memory of Amanda dancing, across from me, the lights hazy around her head.
Exhibit 3: "Be Mine" by David Grey
Now this one seems obvious, since it was our wedding song. But when I hear Be Mine on the radio, all of those dance lessons come rushing back. Laughing, sweating, stepping on each other's toes, our dance teacher standing behind us clapping out the beat with her hands and feet. The smell of the studio. Practicing it over and over and over and over until we knew it by heart (but still not quite with the beat).
Exhibit 4: "Sweet Thing" by Van Morrison
My college roommate Barbara sent me two CDs while I was in Kenya. And the first time the song played, it hit my chest like a ton of bricks. I have this memory of laying in bed together during our senior year, the windows open, the cars driving by outside, a breeze gently blowing the half-lowered shade, the smell of those verdant pines that penetrates William and Mary. The comfort of laying with someone who knows you inside and out, who knows you and loves you regardless of your shortcomings. The peace that comes when you don't know where you are going, only where you are that moment.