Feeling Like a Snowflake in July
Where does the image of “Snowflakes in July” come from? – Yumi Ohara, Tokyo
It was windy and a bit cold for July, at least as I remember. As I got outside, I looked at dandelions’ parachutes and thought about memories… Are we truly leaving anything behind? And if so, how could it make sense in that whole cycle of our existence? Are we the devastation legacy of the ones called survivors? What is there to comprehend? The wind kept on blowing those pieces of life destined to bloom somewhere else in their due time… That was quite an appropriate scene; as if with my father’s passing, it was time for me to bloom somehow…
I had that same impression when only 4 days later, I found myself on a stage in Taiwan singing in front of an ocean of people with my former band Your Favorite Enemies. My mother insisted for me to do the concert, but I shouldn’t have… I was feeling totally empty inside, emotionless. I don’t recall much of that moment, regardless of the fact that 90,000 people were enthusiastically jumping and shouting right in front of me. With the stage lights upon them, all those faces looked like snowflakes to me, brightly appearing in succession of flashes before disappearing almost instantly. It was a very strange sensation… Even if they were screaming at the top of their lungs, I don’t remember hearing the crowd neither… it was a total void.
Another occasion came about 2 weeks later when I would experience the very same phenomenon during my father’s funerals; again, vivid images of people crying, going in front of my father’s picture one after another, while others were talking in the distance, old acquaintances, close family members and friends, all stopping before me to pay their respect, to tell me stories I had never heard before, to share poignant moments they had with him that were totally new for me… childhood memories, people he helped, how he turned his life around after struggling with alcoholism, Christians he went to church with, bikers he supported through addictions, and on, and on, and on… Hours of bright images pieced together in what felt like some uneven edit of scenes displayed in stop-motion flashes, all without any sound. It was quite a vibrant homage to a man I realized I had never really known.
The last occasion occurred a while after, as I was sitting on the plane that would fly me to Tangier for what I believed were a few weeks to write the next Your Favorite Enemies album, which ultimately became 2 years of a much needed sorrowful journey towards embracing life again. So I was seated, people were passing me by, kids screaming, flight attendants giving instructions, the TV screens broadcasting measures of security, agents asking questions… Hundreds of different lives intertwined for about 8 hours in too small an environment to contain everybody’s stories. But still, regardless of all that organized chaos that is a plane boarding time, I couldn’t hear anything… no sound. I was feeling absolutely nothing, if only emptiness inside.
And, it’s seated in that plane, that I started writing words in some sort of a scrap book diary I had brought with me for the trip. Amongst those words was written “And I’m standing here, somewhere across the sky, contemplating the universe shining in broad daylight, feeling inexistent, like a snowflake in July… ”
Like most of the album, “Snowflakes in July” wrote itself through flashes, glimpses and shimmers of light that consequently kept me from totally losing myself to what felt like an inconsolable bleakness at the time…
Much love always,