Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For a Song: Shotgun Down the Avalanche

Shawn Colvin: Shotgun Down the Avalanche


Falling in love is a very humbling experience. It is the acknowledgement that something has happened to you that you had absolutely no control over. I had several girlfriends before my wife, and each time, I thought I was in love. And, the next time always showed me that I hadn’t been. This is not a knock on any of my previous girlfriends; it’s just that my capacity to love was still growing. And then, one day I realized that I was with the woman I would spend the rest of my life with. It wasn’t a choice I made. Rather, it was an acceptance of my circumstance. I think Shawn Colvin knows what I mean. In the song Shotgun Down the Avalanche, she finds herself at the edge of a precipice, and there is a realization that she is going to fall. Her reaction is to let go of the impulse of self-preservation, and embrace the experience of the plunge. Her reservations are still there, but so is the knowledge that there is no longer a choice. This is why songs that simply make grand pledges of love often don’t do it for me. Colvin understands that the truth is far more complicated.