A chance listening to a mountain dulcimer and a string orchestra performing Connie Elisor’s Blackberry Winter (1997) played upon my imagination: it was all about paradox. Poets like T. S. Elliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins are known for such word-joinings; its experience, in music, however, opened me to other realities.

Juxtaposing succulent blackberries with frigid winds erupted into a honied ache, a puckering of the lips, a twinge of sweetness.

Still other associations flowed: the interlude between hesitant frosts and the full coloring of spring; between the locked door and the opened door; between the angst and discovery within the creative process; between thought and action; between labor and delivery; between losing a significant other and fresh heart-healing; and between the rigors of dying and ultimate surrender: “fall, gall, gash themselves, gold-vermillion.”

It seems like our lives are a succession of blackberry winters.

Such is the glory of our humanness and when overwhelmed, let us not lose heart in our Composer who resides within. Change always comes if we allow it.