Haunted by the news

Some news stories and images are so horrifying, they linger in my mind for days. Although the news typically is filled with tragic stories almost to the point where headlines are scrolled through without a second thought, sometimes they are so immense, it becomes almost incomprehensible.

That was the case back in 2015 after an earthquake in Nepal killed nearly 9,000 people. Nearly 600,000 structures were damaged or destroyed, displacing 2.8 million people. Watching the news and seeing those images from the other side of the world, I couldn’t fathom how people in that region move on from something like that. Families destroyed, homes lost, futures altered.

That was the impetus for this next song, “Under the Same Sky.”

As the earth crumbled across the ocean
We continued our lives with depleted emotion
Underneath the rubble, thousands of lives lost
Numbed by the numbers, can’t comprehend the cost

This first verse looks at the earthquake from an outsider’s view – watching the impact on a screen across the miles. We continue our daily lives, although we may feel a shadow overheard when thinking about those affected by the earthquake.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what others are going through, especially on a sunny day when things are going well for you. That happens a lot in Arizona where we have bright sunny days while other parts of the country are covered with snow and those living in those areas are shuttered inside during a snowstorm.

Although those living in Nepal may feel like worlds away, they are part of our world – we share the sun and the moon and although their lives may look differently than ours, we are all connected.

We all live under the same sky
Some have brighter days, some have darker nights
We all share the moon and the sun
Yet the world looks so different for everyone

Looking at the song’s structure, I know now that it’s out of whack. The melody in the first verse is different from the second verse and the second verse doesn’t carry the story along, but I still like the message, although I don’t think I clearly articulated what it is.

Simple pleasures, idyllic scenes
One’s expectation is another’s dream
Billions of people, one collective soul
Each individual playing a unique role

What was going on in my mind was the idea that some countries look so beautiful and from across the world, we recognize and appreciate this beauty, but we might have difficulty imaging ourselves living in those surroundings because we are used to a different kind of lifestyle. Things that we take for granted (our own home, with a solid roof and contemporary flooring, shoes without holes, etc. – “one’s expectation”) exist only in the dreams of others (“is another’s dream”).

And yet, everyone, regardless of their living circumstances, are connected to one another and has their own purpose in the world (“Billions of people, one collective soul, each individual playing a unique role.”)

Not sure if I communicated that clearly in the second verse. Maybe that would have worked better as a bridge?

In the third verse, I get back to the subject at hand – the earthquake. This probably should have been the second verse because the structure is closer to the first verse. The lyrics here focus more on the aftermath of the earthquake – it destroyed worlds and lives. Stories of heroism started being told – and the villains (such as those committing fraud by starting funds for the victims but then keep the donations for themselves) start being exposed. After a tragic event such as that, there are also illuminating stories of people helping others (“hidden embers of humanity glowed”).

As the earth trembled, turning worlds to dust
Futures were altered, no life was untouched
Heroes emerged, villains were exposed
As hidden embers of humanity glowed

The final chorus is a message of hope – that although our lives may be different – we all basically want the same thing – a good, meaningful and peaceful life for us and our families – so maybe we can all work together for this?

We all live under the same sky
Some have brighter days, some have darker nights
We’re all wishing on the same stars
So let’s strive for peace no matter where we are.


1 Comment

  1. I always admire how you take these things to heart – things that change some people’s lives while other people don’t even look.


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