Music helps make memories

I don’t know why, but I like cold, desolate places. I like snow, ice and learning how humans survive in these tundra-like conditions. And that is why I was watching The Last Trapper, a documentary about a Canadian trapper called Norman Winther. It is an okay film — landscapes are hauntingly beautiful, the rest of it is meh. I hate killing of animals.

So maybe that is why I won’t move to Alaska or some such place. But I still love the mountains and the snow. The film had a great soundtrack though. One of the songs — By The Rivers Dark by Leonard Cohen. It is not even in the top ten songs of Cohen. Not even in the top twenty. But it was a song that got me back to listening to Cohen. I went to Spotify, looked up the song, created a playlist and before you know it, I was heading down the memory lane. 

And just like that, it got me thinking about this girl I had a crush on as a teenager. She loved Leonard Cohen. So I loved his music. She wanted to be an architect. I wanted to be one too. Maybe that is why I am obsessed by minimalism and being reductionist in my creative work. But in the end, I found what I was meant to do.

It was so long ago, since the time she told me about Cohen’s music. I don’t remember much from my past, but when I listen to a Cohen track, I think of her, even if it is for a second. I remember her teenage face, her squeaky voice. Thanks to Cohen’s music, I have that memory. Music helps make memories, helps us construct a timeline. We all think of music as if it is an object, but in reality, it is the time machine of our soul, the ultimate flytrap for emotions.

Nevertheless, even if like the past Cohen is gone, he is here forever. His music is just as fine, as it always was. He was cool. He is cool. His voice is cool. Next time I am in some cold place, I will put on my headphones, crank up, Cohen…

August 26, 2018, San Francisco

Photo: Manhattan Jazz: Made by me using a Leica M-Monochrome (M246) & Leica f2/500 Summicron. Aperture f 2.8. Shutter speed: 1/60th of a second. ISO 800.

A letter from Om

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