“…being alive in this beautiful, heartbreaking world…”


From the e-mail list of the dynamic musical duo of Over the Rhine, which consists of Linford Detweller and Karin Bergquist:

The younger version of me: I was often overwhelmed with how to respond to the unwieldy gift of being alive in this beautiful, heartbreaking world. I didn’t know where to begin.

But eventually I came to believe that music was as good a response as I was ever going to come up with. What better way to try to say thank you? Was there ever going to be a more nourishing ritual than gathering a group of people together in a room somewhere where we could make music over the course of an evening and have a conversation of some kind? Lean into the imaginary harness, and bend the world ever so slightly toward the hopefulness we longed for?

I know of no better time of year for music. The dark evenings are growing ever longer. The night air helps us make ghosts with our breath. We’re going to find some warmly lit stages and offer our songs to the close and holy darkness.

— Linford Detweller, November 2011

In the late fall and early winter months, as it gets dark earlier, I often find myself longing to wrap myself in light and silence. As a child, I felt my sadness and tendency towards introspection in winter was a mistake. I reasoned that I was born in winter, and therefore, should be happy in it. Now, I find that gentle walks and quality time in community feeds my spirit. I still often feel quiet and sad, but I am in spaces where I am allowed to be. I really identify with the words: How do we respond to the “unwieldly gift of being alive in this beautiful heartbreaking world”?

I would say: In small steps and pieces. Through community and creative expression. Through honoring ourselves in the season and time of our lives that we inhabit in the moment. Through appreciating the beauty and our lives. Through recognizing what it is like to be truly present. Through learning.

As the light changes this year, I vow to take more steps towards honoring myself and sharing more of my process with others.



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