I was sitting in a hostel on the other side of the world when I first listened to this track from Paddy Casey’s 1999 album ‘Amen (So Be It)’. It was a wet summer Down Under. I had run away from the horrors of PTSD brought on by a series of nasty incidents I witnessed working as a police officer in the UK. All the running away did was make me feel more vulnerable. Alone, a foreign country, unresolved trauma: a recipe for disaster.
A line in the song: ‘trying to catch the sun’, tucked in amongst the gentle piano and fractured vocal, echoed around the hostel walls as if it was trying to bring itself to my attention.
There I was, just another backpacker seeking a summer when it was winter back home, kidding myself I was hungry for adventure and long days on the beach with a beer, when really, the warmth of a winter by the fire: at home surrounded by family and friends is all I wanted.
The tracks of my tears were leading me home. This beautiful song which nestles towards the end of the album was the vehicle for the start of the next chapter of my life: one that started with returning home because ‘summer’s dark/took all it can steal’.
(Song recommendation by Lee D. Thompson)