It’s been seven days as I write this. Luva, one of the family dogs, left this world. The circumstances are still hard to process and detailing them is still not an option. I think part of the trauma that settled in was potentiated by having to deal with the possibility of loosing all my canine family (fortunately, after some hours, we were given hope that the other two would make it through and they are now ok). Everything since that moment has become extremely surreal. Those who share their lives with animals know how intimate those relations can be, that being part of the difficult character of mourning their loss and dealing with the emptiness left behind.

I know enough about grief and depression to get through this, or so I thought. This time around, I guess due to the abrupt and violent nature of the event, none of that knowledge is stepping forward. I also have enough experience with therapeutic photography to turn to it, but have been unable to make that process work. I hope not in a very distant future, I’ll be able to share those attempts. For now:

She´s in nature. She´s everywhere. Yet, she´s gone.

I can imagine this sounds intense and dark and depressive, but what I really want to talk about is music and how it´s been saving me from disconnecting. When nothing else seemed to work, I turned to music. Metal, heavy-metal, doom metal, post-metal, aggressive music, dark music, depressive music, loud music, noise, intense music, whatever people want to call it. It´s not out-of-the-ordinary for me, but for the past two years or so, since I re-connected with life, metal has become my go-to sound. For some reason, I just crossed paths with Amenra’s lattest album De Doorn (The Thorn) and I have no hesitation in claiming that such experience is part of the reason I’m getting stronger. Fucking art saves people, we all know it, yet often forget. 

When I was doing my phd about authentic expression, we talked about including music, but quickly realized it was impossible (under those circumstances) to extend our thesis to certain forms of art, music being one of them. I’ve been thinking about that these days and about what is happening to me while listening to De Doorn. One of the “problems” that arose when considering music for the thesis about authentic expression was linguistics. The form of words echoes like nothing else. Our minds and brains experience it in a completely different way. There are zillions of nuances of course, but meaning is transformed by words in a way that is no simple task to relate to shape, colours, textures, etc

For example, some weeks ago I was going through all the versions I could find of Further on up the road (released by Springsteen’s) and grew surprised about the popularity of Johnny Cash’s version, for to me it sounded pretty much like everything else by Johnny Cash. He has this popular nihilistic tone that levels everything, like everything is/feels mundane and ordinary. Other versions managed to make me experience the lyrics through the music, while Cash’s didn’t. 

Metal is the sort of music that, when I listen to, I know “what it is about”, meaning the aesthetic experience is unequivocally autonomous from the meaning of the words. While I listen to Amenra’s De Doorn I enter a journey of experiencing grief and coming out on the other end, not only alive, but transformed, spiritually revitalized, reborn. My darkness is given color again. 

It’s been hard to breathe. Agony is installed. The landscape seems menacing, everywhere there’s potencial danger and, yet, because of this music, I’m reminded of the complex dimensions of the real and the unreal and I learn, again, to connect and believe Luva will again be light, not darkness. 

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