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Enchanted Melody

Interconnected

By Jeff HutchingsPublished 10 days ago 3 min read
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Madison recognized the woman on stage that night. She saw the slight shake in her hands gripping the mic, how her eyes closed when hitting the high notes. It brought Madison back to being twelve, finding that strange tape hidden behind her dresser.

"Emily's Lullabies" scribbled on the dusty cassette in her mother's handwriting. Madison kept the discovery of her mom's secret songwriting from her dad, worried it might disrupt their family's fragile harmony.

But she was spellbound listening to her mother's haunting voice over the homemade guitar recordings. Emily's soft tones sounded distant, almost dreamlike, pulling Madison in. After that, Emily took on a mythic quality to Madison—the devoted mother and caged songbird who yearned to fly free. The lost folksinger. Madison started seeing her mom's hands in her mind's eye—not just as tools for chores, but as artistic instruments.

Even away at college, studying nature, Madison perked up anytime she heard singing in the distance. Part of her wondered if her mother's unheard voice might still linger somewhere out there. The thought made it tough to sleep some nights, imagining her mother's untapped talent.

"You've always been so in tune with the world, Maddie," her dad said over the phone once, his typical mix of warmth and concern. "Have you thought about writing poetry again? It seemed to help you process things when you were younger."

After graduation, Madison gave it a shot. She poured her feelings onto the page until she could see her mother from a fresh perspective, recognizing the artist hidden beneath the surface.

Then in mid-July, a poster caught her eye: "Feathers & Strings," some open mic folk night. A cozy joint welcoming musicians to bare their souls. An invisible force drew Madison there that sticky summer evening.

The headliner had a voice that mirrored her mother's old tapes. Same wavering hands, eyes as she rode the melodies, but with a stage presence Emily never quite found. Between songs, she addressed the audience of insomniacs and dreamers.

"Name's Eva, and I'm here to play for a young naturalist whose poems about our connection to the earth gave me absolute chills. We've gotta keep listening to the wisdom of the living world all around us..."

As Eva sang, Madison felt an uncanny connection brewing. The lyrics spun an ancient tale about the bond between humans and nature, the kind of primal knowing that trees might sigh about if they could talk. Madison got swept up in the music, she drifted away entirely.

She pictured her mother, Emily, surrounded by towering oaks, her voice at one with nature. As the song hit its climax, Madison snapped back to the present to find Eva's eyes locked on hers. A flash of unspoken understanding passed between them—a shared reverence for the power of music to bridge gaps and unearth buried truths.

After the show, Madison approached Eva, heart pounding. "Your voice," she managed, "it's eerily similar to my mom's. How did you...?"

Eva just smiled, a little cryptically, and rested a hand on Madison's shoulder. "These songs don't really belong to us. They're shards from forever ago, passed down and down. Your mother's gift is part of you, Madison. Part of everyone who taps into the magic of the wild."

She gave Madison's hand a quick, encouraging squeeze. "Sing from your gut and you'll find whatever it is you're looking for."

Madison walked out of the hollow a changed woman, deeply grateful for her mother's musical legacy. She understood now that through her poems and her own fledgling voice, she could continue to honor the complicated link between people and nature—the one that exists beyond words, blended into ancient, sprawling melodies.

Heading to her car, a gentle tune slipped out, surprising her. The first few bars of some new, unwritten song. A distant bird of prey circled in the clear evening sky and Madison felt the swirling depth of her history, of Eva's message and the generations of singers that came before. All of it tied together under the skin of the world, feeding from the same mysterious source.

She knew she'd have to keep singing, to make this song her own. To find her voice among the chorus and add something real, something that could reach those who needed to hear it. The time for hesitation was over. Her melody was rising now, raw and real, spilling out under the velvety night sky.

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