Snowflakes in July
Tracklisting & Lyrics
It sometimes happens that I can perfectly remember the circumstances surrounding a moment that has inspired me for a song, so much so that I can recall the perfume that was floating in the air, the type of light there was and even the precise details of the faces of the people sitting next to me, as if everything had stopped for a split second only for me to capture the meaning of the instant about to unfold before my eyes. “Snowflakes in July” is one of those songs.
In fact, it grew within me on 3 distinctive occasions. First, when I was a witness to my father’s passing, some time in the night between the 7th and 8th of July. I still can see the vivid images of my mother crying, the devastation of my father’s best friends, the hospital personnel running around and my friends looking at me… The images are probably even clearer than the scene itself. However, I don’t remember hearing any sound… Nothing, just a total absence of noise turning that tragic reality into some dream-like reel unfolding everybody’s reaction right before my eyes… everyone’s but mine. I completely shut down any emotion, lied by his side, whispered a few words in his ear, kissed him one last time and left the room for others to live the poignant nature of the moment. I would find myself on a stage in Taiwan singing in front of an ocean of people 4 days later, feeling totally empty inside.
The second occasion came about 2 weeks later when I would experience the very same phenomenon during my father’s funerals; vivid images of people crying, going in front of a picture one after another, while others were talking in the distance, old acquaintances and closer family friends, stopping before me to pay their respect, hours of vivid images pieced together in some uneven edit of scenes flashing in stop-motion, all without any sound. Again, feeling totally empty inside.
The third 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 – it ultimately became 2 years. People passing me by, kids screaming, flight attendants giving instructions, the tv screens broadcasting measures of security, agents asking me questions… Hundred of different lives intertwined for about 8 hours in too small an environment to contain everybody’s stories. But still no sound. Nothing but emptiness inside. And I started writing words in a 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 bright light, feeling inexistent, like a snowflake in July.”
I finally wrote the lyrics back to Montreal after those 2 years in Tangier, right before I started working on the production of “Windows in the Sky”. Recalling those 3 events, in a pure form of automatic writing, from the words I whispered into my father’s ear to the bleakness of the funerals and the light punctuating the sky across the universe, I wrote, without asking myself too many questions. Much of those emotions had been intensively exposed over the course of my 2 years in Tangier and would mark the questions I was still unable to answer or didn’t have the courage to face the implications of.
I added the last verse during the vocal recording, as a last memorial stand, confessing my fear of forgetting, of losing it all. Voices, desires, joy… All the souvenirs that shaped the person I am, that strangely give a meaning to all that silence, that helped me face the emptiness I still feel to this day when I think of ending as a simple picture on which the colors fade as fast as we regret every broken promise, knowing that one day, always too soon, the only thing that will matter is the measure of love we shared with others. This is what will define the image of ourselves that people will remember as they stand before us, gone like a snowflake in July.
August 7, 2020
Lyrics and Music
Alex Henry Foster
Alex Henry Foster
Charles Moose Allicie
Upper Room Studio
Hopeful Tragedy Records