I had the pleasure of hearing Stevie Nicks rehearse a performance of “Landslide” this evening. This song has always been a favorite of mine, but the older I get, the more meaningful it has become. On the live version of the song, before she begins she dedicates it to her father. You can hear the loss in her voice, the fragility of not knowing what to do with this love she has in her heart that no longer has an outlet. She calling for a reflection of herself, she’s also calling for a reflection for the one she’s lost or about to lose, she’s calling to the child that lives within her. To find her, to save her–from the pain and from herself. She questions whether she’ll be able to handle getting older, without this love, Lindsay Buckingham and/or her father that she’s built her entire life around.
When a landslide occurs in nature it can be catastrophic. It can wipe out roads, unearth trees and uproot houses from their foundation in its wake of dirt, rock, debris and water. When a landslide occurs on the floor of the ocean, it can produce a tsunami. And when a landslide happens in your life, the same principles apply. It can be a gradual or sudden shift in the foundation of a relationship that you never seem to be able to recover from–just a day into a month into a year–a love deteriorates and ends. Or the landslide is the death, the loss of a person who’s life meant so much to you that you created your world around their presence, until it’s gone.
There’s a haunting vulnerability in Stevie’s voice when she sings the song, but there’s also a certain hopefulness. While she doesn’t know if she’s can handle what’s coming to her, she’s still willing and open to going there. To taking her love and climbing a mountain. None of us know how our lives will be from now until the moment of our death. Most people are terrified to even think it’s a possibility. But it is the only thing that is guaranteed. If you were born, you will die. There’s no escaping it. (Even vampires will die. Aren’t they ultimately the greatest metaphor for man’s denial that he will die? That escapist fantasy of becoming immortal?)
“I’ve been afraid of changing,” she sings. But time has made her more willing to take risks, to create her own landslide, even if only to no longer be stuck in the place/relationship she feels ready to move beyond because she’s getting older. Change isn’t easy unless you are committed to yourself. You can choose for change to feel easier, simply by taking responsibility and making your own choice. Whether to hang onto the past, to question yourself, to take action, to wall yourself away from your truth. We make a thousand choices every day and most of them are made unconsciously. Chicken or fish? Salad or soup? Walk or run? Sleep or write? Stay or go? Love or hate? Anger or peace?
So, if you’re facing a landslide in your life, take a moment to listen to Stevie sing about hers and maybe it will take you down to the place where you need to be, where you can rise above the snow-covered hills.