Music is a funny thing.
It can transport us to far off places, make us homesick for places we’ve never been, and move us to laughter, or tears.
Just now, the song “We Are Young” by Fun. took me to a moonlit hilltop in the middle of the English countryside, overlooking a 17th century manor house. I know, odd. Classical piano music seems much more appropriate for such a setting. No one told my memory cortex that. (is that even a thing? It sounds goods, so I’m going to go with yes.) The connection is simple, though not obvious.
It was about ten thirty at night. A group of my friends were hanging out in one of the common rooms of the aforementioned manor house, which doubled as the college we were all attending for a study abroad program. We hadn’t been able to decide what we wanted to do that evening (I still don’t know how we all survived the lack of sleep that semester), when Sean, a former Boy Scout, suggested we go visit the WWII bunker out in the woods.
Wow, that sounds like the beginning of a horror story, doesn’t it? A bunch of college kids head out into the woods armed with nothing but three flashlights (torches if you’re British) and our adventurous spirits, intent on exploring the ruins of a WWII bunker. Yeesh.
Happily, our little outing never took a gruesome turn, though the trip did include a misadventure with goose droppings (Jordan’s shoes never smelled the same again), and the Boy Scout almost getting us lost in the woods before we even made it to the bunker. When we finally made it to the bunker, we all took great delight in sneaking up and scaring the pants off of each other. Once the bunker had been thoroughly explored, we made our way back to the manor. The return trip was much shorter and easier than the outgoing trip, as we made sure to point out to Sean. When we broke cover, we just had to stop and take in the view. The windows were all lit up, and the manor glowed. Even when I lived there I had to stop and let it soak in that I could call it home. it was beautiful.
We stayed at the top of that hill for a while, marveling at the fact that we were there, and giving each other a hard time, as good friends do. Somewhere along the line, we sang “We Are Young”, before heading down the hill again.
This is far from the only story that came out of those four glorious months. It’s not the best, either. But it’s one of the strongest memories I have that can be conjured by a song. And I think that’s a beautiful thing.