The weather was good, we had the time, and my dad liked cycling, so in 2003 we took an excursion from our lodging place in northern Virginia to "thehistoricaltownofHarpersFerry." Unfortunately I was usually rather passive on these excursions, but, as we turned left on Route 340 and approached West Virginia, I was moved despite myself by the view of the Shenandoah River through the trees. It was a wide, shallow, rocky expanse of dappled white-and-gunmetal. We did what most first-time visitors do: walk about the old town, stand on the riverbanks, take pictures. We even carried our bikes down the spiraling staircase to try the C&O canal towpath. Or did we give up when we saw the stairs?
Still, Harpers Ferry never became special to me until Jacob took me there in 2007 and sat us down on a stone ruin atop the river. To my astonishment, he proposed. Then our giddy selves hiked up past Jefferson Rock and sat down with our backs to the setting sun and our faces toward the confluence of the rivers between the heights. Below our feet was a descending hill of gravestones. I can't think of a better thing to do than consider a graveyard after you've pledged your life to someone. We sat, cried, smiled, and wondered what legacy we would have by the time we had our own stones.
We didn't then think we would one day live in Harpers Ferry, but this November will mark our sixth year here. The place is now linked to the themes and events of our lives. But, just like our lives, it's fraught with memories of conflict. John Brown's would-be insurrection was here. The town changed hands at least seven times between North and South during the Civil War. We've dug up heavy white lead bullets from our own backyard.
Every day, literally and figuratively, we see battlescapes. So much beauty, so much battle, neither ever completely safe from the other.
Last Saturday, we spent several hours at a studio tracking six piano pieces commemorating Harpers Ferry. This collection is called Battlescapes, and I can't wait to share it. Quite soon, I will announce the release of a single from this little album. I wish I could give you hard dates, but there's a bit of back-end prep to do first. Rest assured the site and social will be updated when there's more to tell.
Thanks for following this journey.