When I first heard Jeff Buckley singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, I was so moved tears ran down my face. He captures such depth and broken-heartedness. His voice, so intimate and personal, gently floats along like a slow-moving wide river carrying all who listen along with him. It is a slow dance; a gentle rain on tender shoots of grass. He finishes the ballad by holding an impossibly long note, which you will try to hold too the second or third time around.
And having written the above, I found it interesting to go looking for his life story a bit. I knew he died young, but I didn’t know that he drowned in the Mississippi River near Nashville while swimming alone at night. For several years I lived near the Mississippi River, and it was this very river I was thinking of as I wrote the first paragraph. Its interesting to me how writing, like life, knows its way and shares it’s wisdom so generously without our even asking.
To listen to Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah, go here.
Note: The above pastel painting was made during the time I lived near the Mississippi near St. Louis just as the water started to recede from the annual flooding. The small house is on one of the islands. The stacks in the background have been taken down and replaced with a larger single stack for the electric plant that provides for the communities surrounding it.