My copy of “Left and Leaving” is getting a lot of needle action lately. I can’t stop playing The Weakerthans on shuffle in my car. Maybe it’s the ice finally melting from the hilltop pavement, maybe it’s the cyclical trappings of the years, but I love love love how this album, somehow, always sounds new again. John K.Sampson is better than most. His lyrical metaphor, his anthropomorphism, his meter, and his blunt dictation of sorrow provide honesty at this literary level so difficult to accomplish in any words, let alone in the format of a song.

To think I discovered this band more than 10 years ago, when the depths of relationships with other humans, flawed and fragile as me, felt so dark and intriguing and winding. Now, how innocent those emotions seem. How much deeper and meaningful and layered these words feel, on this side of time: “I’m so glad that you exist.” 

You take them for granted when you are young, all those full and inspiring and vibrant people around you. We lose it, sometimes, somehow, as we age.

I’m a lucky person, to have had so many wonderful people in my life. People who have taught me about music, about words, about art and life and strength, in fleeting, accidental moments that stick in my memory, or subliminal, extended lessons interwoven with the respect and admiration and sheer fun of friendship. Whether they are in my life now or never again is secondary to their sheer import; we felt, and we feel, we connected and always will, and for this, I am grateful. With each passing year, my appreciation and acknowledgment grows, as I hold tighter and tighter to the imprints left behind.

“How I don’t know how to sing,
I can barely play this thing,
But you never seem to mind,
And you tell me to fuck off,
When I need somebody to,
How you make me laugh so hard,

How whole years refuse to stay,
Where we told them to, bad dog,
Locked up whining in a word,
Or a misplaced souvenir,
How the past chews on your shoes,
And these memories lick my ear.

I know,
You might roll your eyes at this,
But I’m so,
Glad that you exist.

How we waste our precious time,
Marching in the picket line,
That surround those striking hearts,

And the time is never now,
And we know who we should love,
But we’re never certain how.

I know,
You might roll your eyes at this,
But I’m so,
Glad that you exist.”
~The Reasons
The Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site