|Martha Wainwright, 2023 Northern Lights Festival|
Dear Martha,I keep thinking about how I let myself not meet you, and now we never met.
How I didn't consider that meeting me wasn't just for me, it was for you, too. That if I had nothing else to give I could have given you my stone
that my heart-sister brought from Vancouver Island when she improbably came to renew me, the stone
that I carried when I travelled alone for the first time since
my body failed me, no cane, triumphant to the heart of America where I swore I wouldn't go
to attend a show that I thought would never happen, the stone
that I gripped when the airplane stifled, the stone
that I held warming in my hand through Happy's every song, gift after gift, my tears streaming I never thought I would see her live her music changed me and still unlocks my soul, holding the stone
that I thought I had lost at the airport
but found again at the bottom of the bag that holds my horizon and grounds me home;
and you probably wouldn't have thought I was some deranged stranger handing you a rock from the ground and wanting it to be special
you probably would have understood that I was giving you a thousand songs
and the heart of my musical heart
you probably would have been very glad to meet me, after all.
But I held that back from you. I played small.
Twenty feet away and I let myself be washed out with the crowd into the mundane nextness of the day after you sang your soul away to a mediocre crowd with your family and your wholeness and even still I didn't make myself known, I didn't offer you my service or my smile
I thought I was shy but I was nervous and playing myself like a quiet instrument that doesn't deserve to be heard
by someone who has made themselves you. You. As if Me is no one at all.
It's my habit, to seem small, nothing special, pre-empt the presumption I'm not worth the time I'm taking.
Still, and all
I want a second chance to let you know me, take what is here in me that's for you, to agree that I can be of value too, to you, as you have been to me. Your music and movement set something free. Maybe something in me could have done that for you, if I'd stepped up, come through, if I'd passed the test, been there for you
who knows but even so, I want to give you my stone
that stone, and my promise that you are not alone
while I'm here.