A Song by Dar Williams

In the summer of 2004, it was my second summer being a white-water raft guide on the Arkansas River in Buena Vista, Colorado. That summer my best friend, Kay, and I lived out of our vehicles and our tents. I had a 1991 Black Ford F-150 pickup truck that I named Duke. Before I left Pennsylvania, I found a used cap to cover the bed (and this was pre-Craigslist days so I found it in the "for sale" in the classifieds of the local newspaper... crazy!). My dad and brother helped me design and build the storage bed and shelves to go in the back. Duke had a straight six engine and did NOT like going up mountain passes. He's been coast-to-coast and even to the Grand Canyon with my besties from college.

I lived in Duke for 5 months from May through September that year. To live in the vehicle that you're driving is such an experience of freedom! After the rafting season was over in mid-August in Colorado, I spent 6 weeks driving through Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and northern California by myself. It was AMAZING. I went to hot springs and camped and hiked and mountain biked.

There were lots of ups and downs on this solo-journey. Lots of reading and journaling and figuring myself out. Mainly I probably was obsessed with when and who and how I was going to get married. (Little did I know that I would meet Josh the next summer and it would all be history...) During this trip, I hung a Bible verse from my rear-view mirror:

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.' " Isaiah 30:21

I used this verse both figuratively and then literally at some 4-way stop signs in the middle of podunk-nowhere!

I was just remembering how during all of those hours and hours on the road I would listen to the same song over and over or the same CD over and over. Thank you to...

I believe this is where my great talent of knowing almost every song lyric out there comes from. One of my most favorite songs from this time is "What Do You Hear in These Sounds" by Dar Williams. Wow. How long have I known this song? It came out in 1997 and I bet I found it somewhere around my early-to-mid 20's... so around the year 2003? Oddly enough, at that point in my life I really hadn't done any really therapy, but I loved what the song said. 

"But oh how I loved everybody else
When I finally got to talk so much about myself"

The last verse about East Berlin is especially powerful for me in a variety of ways. I love envisioning everyone I meet "with their stumbling and their mumbling / and their calling out just like me." And I love the healing that I've received while at Hufeland Klinik in Germany.

What Do You Hear in These Sounds
by Dar Williams

I don't go to therapy to find out if I'm a freak
I go and I find the one and only answer every week
And it's just me and all the memories to follow
Down any course that fits within a fifty minute hour
And we fathom all the mysteries, explicit and inherent
When I hit a rut, she says to try the other parent
And she's so kind, I think she wants to tell me something,
But she knows that it's much better if I get it for myself
And she says

What do you hear in these sounds?
What do you hear in these sounds?

I say I hear a doubt, with the voice of true believing
And the promises to stay, and the footsteps that are leaving
And she says "Oh, " I say, "What?" she says, "Exactly, "
I say, "What, you think I'm angry
Does that mean you think I'm angry?"
She says "Look, you come here every week
With jigsaw pieces of your past
It's all on little soundbites and voices out of photographs
And that's all yours, that's the guide, that's the map
So tell me, where does the arrow point to?
Who invented roses?"

What do you hear in these sounds?
What do you hear in these sounds?

And when I talk about therapy, I know what people think
That it only makes you selfish and in love with your shrink
But oh how I loved everybody else
When I finally got to talk so much about myself

And I wake up and I ask myself what state I'm in
And I say well I'm lucky, 'cause I am like East Berlin
I had this wall and what I knew of the free world
Was that I could see their fireworks
And I could hear their radio
And I thought that if we met, I would only start confessing
And they'd know that I was scared
They'd would know that I was guessing
But the wall came down and there they stood before me
With their stumbling and their mumbling
And their calling out just like me, and

The stories that nobody hears, and
I collect these sounds in my ears, and
That's what I hear in these sounds, and
That's what I hear in these,
That's what I hear in these sounds.