My oldest daughter was adopted from China. When we adopted her they handed us a very slim file filled with a lot of official looking stamps and signatures but not much information. But there was a police document that said that she was found beneath the Tax Bureau Gate on the morning of September 26, 1997. It was explained to us that these abandoned children are often left outside a government building in the hopes that they will be found quickly by someone responsible enough to contact the authorities.
A large chunk of the Miles From Our Home album was about wading through the adoption process and the frustrations of knowing that your child is out there, but red tape and thousands of miles sit between you and her. A large part of Open was about finding oneself in a whole new world filled with love, hope, fear and mystery: the terrifying world of parenthood. As we got closer to adopting and meeting our daughter, my wife and I would often look up at the moon and wonder if she, too, would be gazing at the same moon tonight, half a world away.
My daughter goes off to college this year, she is a rock climber who competes at the national level, she just finished a 52 day canoe trip above the Arctic circle, she is a wonder. The trajectory of a single life is an astonishing thing.
In late 1996 my wife and I rented a beat up old mill house, two hours Northeast of Toronto, idyllically situated in the rolling hills of Northumberland County. It was the most serene little spot. It overlooked a four-acre stream fed pond, which transformed itself hourly with the shifting light. Our days were filled with sound of the hundred or so birds, that made our patch of land their home: our nights with the sound of water splashing over top of the mill’s damn. The locals knew the spot as Maiden’s Mill, named after the family that established the mill over 150 years earlier.
This was in the time-before-children…an easier, simpler time. We rented the house for about twelve months and watched all the seasons pass on through our little slice of paradise. I wrote and she painted. During that time the rest of the band came up and took up residency for a while and we worked on the songs that turned into the Miles From Our Home album. Along with the songs that ended up on that album, I wrote about twenty other songs. One of those songs was One Soul Now.
One Soul Now was written right at the end of the Miles From Our Home sessions and we even worked up a full band demo of the song in order to consider it for that project. We always liked it, but we never felt comfortable with the groove or arrangement that we had come up with. We had a lot of songs on our plate at that time so we decided to shelve it. During the writing of Open we briefly took it out again (along with I Did It All For You, which was written and recorded at Maiden’s Mill and made it on to Open), but that album took on a life of it own and One Soul Now was, once again, put away.
When the songs for the “new album” began to form I immediately thought about One Soul Now and how its main lyrical theme about, all living things on this earth being tied into one overpowering life-force, was an excellent counterpoint to many of the songs that were about disconnection and confusion. And the title of the song began to take on a fresh meaning as the world began to turn itself upside down and splinter into more menacing and aggressive factions and tribes. The phrase One Soul Now almost began to sound like a call to arms (or at least a call to link arms) for these troubled times.
The song was inspired by those magical twilights at Maidens Mill, just as the sun was passing through its last few degrees before disappearing for the day. Everything would become absolutely still. The insects, the birds, the breeze, and even the water on the pond would just stop. And I would sit there on the edge of the pond and for a brief instant I could almost tap in to that life force which mysteriously binds us all. It was always an exhilarating and overwhelming moment. I often think that if we could gather up all of the world’s leading combatants, bring them up to Maiden’s Mill and have them all shut up and sit down on the edge of that pond and then have them all zone in to the energy “that twilight brings”………the worlds problems would be solved before sundown.