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People have been asking me when I’m going to post something about Halifax, but I’m not sure what more I can say other than I felt very much at home there, something I rarely feel in The Rotten Apple anymore.

Halifax is a spectacular city (er, I mean “regional municipality”) — historic, cosmopolitan, grimy, gorgeous, soulful and maybe even a little dangerous. Everything New York used to be but mostly isn’t anymore. The downtown is teeming with delicious food, used bookstores, music venues, public gardens, old Victorians, old stone and red brick buildings, a couple of colleges, and some very intriguing people. And it stays open late. All this surrounded by the Atlantic and a huge, ancient, and very active port. (Yeah, I know it’s not perfect — the global corporate revolution has certainly made its incursions even there, and a fair amount of tourist crap abounds, especially down around the “seaport” area.)

And I know we’ve talked before here about “geographical cures” and the very true and unavoidable fact that “wherever you go, there you are.” But a human being is just a coalescence of energy, in a constant state of flux and exchange with the energy of his or her environment. So it makes sense to me that certain kinds of environments would provide more spiritual resonance to some people than others, and that there are other kinds of environments which impose energy exchanges that are spiritually harmful to all.

The song below I wrote specifically for Amanda — her voice, her sensibility — and this version appears on her new album, Union Square. (We ended up finishing the song together, and she wrote about half the verse lyrics.) A song of romantic searching, yes, but there’s a problem: once you’ve reached a certain point of of Devastationalist stasis, is the disturbance worth the effort to go on looking? Put another way, if home is where the heart is, then where do you belong when you’ve got no heart left?

Show Me a Place (Shelley/Thorpe)

Amanda Thorpe

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[Click to play, right-click to download MP3. Doesn't always work with Mac/Safari.]

Never wanted anything
And everything was fine
As long as there were cigarettes
And another glass of wine
Nothing in the world out there
Could ever bother anything of mine
I found a place so high
I’m never coming

Down into the wishing well
Is where I cast my eye
I saw my own black silhouette
Reflect against the sky
I stood and watched the pennies fall
Leaned against the cold stone wall
I made a wish so wild

Won’t you show me a place
Like the one in my mind
Where the days are sweet and long
In the green, green grass
With my hand in yours
Where the noise turns into song

Expectations crystalize
They’re scattered all around
I see them lying everywhere
Like my pennies on the ground
But I can’t hide from you
The light keeps shining through
I found a place so high
I’m never coming

Down into to the depths behind
The walls I built inside
The things I never wanted
The things I never tried
Everything was in its place
Everything was once so safe
I hold the glass so tight

Won’t you show me a place
Like the one in my mind
Where the days are sweet and long
In the green, green grass
With my hand in yours
Where the noise turns into song

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