“San Andreas Fault” by Natalie Merchant

Awake before the sun. For a long time before the sun actually. A night of insomnia kept me tossing and turning. I listened to three podcasts with the hopes that one of them would put me to sleep. I shouldn’t have picked ones I like so much. Or, I should have gotten up and read a chapter or two. Books at night usually do the trick. Once it hit the almost morning I couldn’t battle the bed any longer, so now I’m up before the sun. Coffee is brewing, the house is quiet, I have earbuds in and I’m listening to Natalie Merchant sing about Los Angeles.

“San Andreas Fault” is one of my favorite Natalie Merchant songs. Partially because of my love of California and Los Angeles songs, partially because it is the first track of Tigerlily (and I love first tracks), but also because the song is so quintessentially Natalie to me. The storytelling. The soothing vocals. The melancholic lyrics. It all fits so perfectly with this morning of sleeplessness, a too strong cup of coffee, and Los Angeles out there, locked down and sick.

I’m feeling sad this morning. Sad and scared. I try to hold tight to the hope that we will all get through this. I like to believe that we will be better for all this. That we are re-setting, and maybe, just maybe becoming kinder, more appreciative, more mindful. My beacon of optimism is still in me, but this morning I’m tired and I want the world back. I want to be able to drive to the beach, park my car and walk down to the sand, put my toes in the freezing cold water, breathe in the saltwater, watch the ebb and flow of the waves, let loose all my fears and anxieties into the water and watch it wash away.

They say it will be months of this. Months. I have plenty to do. I’m never one to be bored. I have stacks and stacks of books to read, music to listen to, movies and shows to watch, and so much writing I want to do. I have my morning workouts, and my work-from-home-now job, my kids, my boyfriend. I have recipes to cook and game nights to plan. I’m lucky. And I am grateful. But this morning, with the sun not yet out, I’d like to drive to the beach. I’d like to know I could get in my car and go anywhere. A bookstore maybe. A thrift shop. A 24-hour diner that serves pancakes all day long.

Natalie Merchant San Andreas Fault SOTD

No such luck. Just the cool tile of the kitchen, the cup of too-strong coffee, and Natalie Merchant’s voice singing in my ear. It’s not so bad. It’s good really. I’m just a little sad, that’s all.

“San Andreas Fault” by Natalie Merchant
from the album, Tigerlily (1995)
Song Of The Day

“Oh promised land,
oh, wicked ground,
build a dream, 
tear it down.

Oh promised land, 
what a wicked ground, 
build a dream,
watch it all fall down.”

I love Natalie’s voice so much. She is one of my all-time favorites.

I’ve seen her play live – with and without 10,000 Maniacs – more than any other band, with the exception of Tori Amos and Pete Yorn.

I’ve tried to never miss a chance to see her play. The last time was a few years ago, when she did a Tigerlily night, singing the album in its entirety (and a couple of songs after). She was incredible. As always. And I got to see her with a dear friend of mine who I have seen Natalie with nearly every time.

She opened the show with “San Andreas Fault”.

“San Andreas Fault” (live) by Natalie Merchant

“San Andreas Fault”  captures perfectly the dichotomy that is Los Angeles. The city of angels. The city of broken dreams. Hope and loss often holding hands and making out together, like they are one-true-pair. Hope and hopelessness.

Yes. It seems fitting this morning. It really does.

Natalie Merchant SOTD