Between the Lines: Sweet Summertime | Part One

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This song, like a handful of others I have written, was born on an airplane. There's something about the quiet, the departing, the imminent arrival, the unknowns, that stir my thoughts and move my heart. Maybe it's the anticipation, maybe it's the terrible coffee. Who knows? But this song came to me—or at least the seed of it did—as I stared out the window as the place I'd called home for 2 months grew smaller by the second. A little boy—no older than 2 years old— was looking out his window just behind me and he said, "bye, bye, Minnethota!"

And it clicked.

It had been the most difficult summer of my life. In fact, difficult is a gross understatement. Those two months had been filled to the brim with tension, disappointment, heartbreak, anxiety and unanswered questions—unheard prayers and seemingly ignored cries of desparation.

He was gone. 

And with him went all of the things I had so deeply hoped for. And I stared out the window—expecting to feel nothing but sorrow and anger and despair over this broken dream— and instead, I saw a glimpse of gratitude. It was deeply mingled with anxiety and sorrow and confusion, but I couldn't deny that I was grateful—even with these unknown, lonely days ahead of me—I was grateful for the growing pains. Because, in order for growing pains to be there, I must be growing...even in this.

The final weeks leading up to my return to university for the fall semester were a struggle. Life was busy and ever-changing and the little boy's farewell stuck in my head. Once I arrived in my dorm room, I unpacked my guitar and began to write out of that odd-couple of grief and gratitude. "Sweet Summertime" is what happened. She was the beginning of my most "productive" season of songwriting and set a new bar for me.

She broke me.

She broke down the walls I had built — one layer "keeping face", one layer "bitter anguish" — and mixed it all up together in the most human way possible.

Something that I have been continually blown away by is the fact that, even though this song was written about a very specific time, place, experience, everyone I have met or spoken to after playing them this song —each one, without exception — has had a place like this, had a moment or experience that provoked the same cocktail of grief and gratitude. And that's one of my favorite privileges of making music— getting to see how our dots can connect over the most immeasurable distances.

This is my Sweet Summertime story. What's yours?

Leave it below in the comments or send me a message/email. 

—Jacqui—