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The Transient Sessions

Sep 23, 2021

I first encountered this Bob Dylan song when I was 10 years old. I remember instantly losing myself in the song's narrative and feeling a sense of companionship and peace. The dialogue between the two characters, on paper, couldn’t be further away from my lived experience at that time. Despite that reality, I was still able to connect with the song completely and be served by it. I think it has to do with the overall thematic concept. The protagonist loves unconditionally and sacrificially while the antagonist feels and expresses differently. The audience listens as the protagonist pleads and wrestles with this conflict before hardening their heart and closing its door from continued vulnerability and pain. Even though I had never been in love, traveled or understood anything about Spain, I could still feel the weight of losing something you would sacrifice everything for. As I have gotten older my understanding of this song has ripened and become more complex. While traveling in Spain recently, I felt this would be a fitting song to play. When thinking through the lyrical delivery I started reflecting on the context of the dialogue. For the first time in my life the song wasn’t black and white like I heard it as a child. It was a deeply complicated and difficult conversation between two people that care for each other. I could relate to both sides of the story. The person leaving is feeling called, for reasons unknown, to something new and mysterious. I can understand that. We don’t know the backstory or big picture of their relationship and we never will. So rather than deliver the song in favor of the unconditional lover, I wanted to deliver each line from the heart of the individual saying it. I wanted both to be presented as good dignified people in a hard situation. I feel this makes the song more relatable, for us seasoned folk at least. As a child/young adult I didn’t understand the nuance and complexity of mature relationships. I have started to understand this a little, through the only way possible … the hard way. We are constantly wading in the middle of a complex equation: compatibility + circumstance + time = The Real Shit. There was no way to understand this until I was ready too. However, even as a child, in my own subconscious way, I did know one truth that trumps this complex equation like a wild card: Real love is sacrificial and charts its route to glory through death. Needless to say, when push comes to shove, I still side with the protagonist.

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