I heard Low play live once, in a small performance space back in Madison. For the entire show, everything but the music completely receded. The vibrations of the drums, the reverb, and the singers’ harmonized voices hypnotized me.
When Miles was only weeks old, the night-time temperatures stayed below 0 degrees for a week at a time. Ice covered the cheap, aluminum storm windows so that we could only see light or dark outside. On those frigid nights, I rocked and fed him while listening to this Low song on repeat.
Their music fills me with a sense that I shouldn’t rush through winter, wincing and clenching my shoulders. I should instead try to settle into it and pay attention to it.
The music also fills me with daydreams of Duluth, a place I visited only a few times. I’ve often yearned to return to it, and I’m not exactly sure why. It has something to do with the idea of winter.
The daydream elaborates upon a place I once stood while exploring Duluth. I’m on a hillside in winter, up above the town. A silence pervades that you can only experience in thoroughly frozen places. The sun is shining brightly, sparkling on the ice all around me and on the frozen edges of the great lake down below.
The snow arrives in November and will remain until April or even May. We don’t wince when we think of going out; instead, we are hearty and strong. We wear thermal every day and move quickly outside so our pumping blood keeps us warm. We still ride our bikes, coasting and crunching across the packed snow late at night on our way back from a cozy neighborhood bar. We invite our friends over with warm lamplight glowing across our rooms, and we eat rich food that fills us until drowsiness.
Winter is not so dreary and depressive. There is something sacred about it.
But I don’t live in Duluth. I live much farther south. Here in Ohio, winter is more fickle. Mud intermittently mixes with snow. Instead of brilliantly cold, sunny days, heavy gray skies cover us for long stretches of time.
Still, the music and the daydreams help me along.