chapter 6:

trail of tears / put the gun down

it's the end of the moment. it's the only way home.
I don't know where I'm going. I keep on walking.

deep self-reflection – if done right – may turn over some stones...

our main character’s journey leads him to confront and examine pain, on both a macro and then on a micro (or personal) level…

I wrote the melody in “trail of tears” as a teenager...

at the time, I had just moved to Georgia – around an hour from the New Echota Historic Site.

New Echota, GA was the legislative, judicial, and literary center of the Cherokee nation in 1838 – when the Cherokee nation was forced to walk thousands of miles to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River, as part of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy. the Cherokee people called this journey the "Trail of Tears," because of its devastating effects – over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died.

visitors to New Echota can tour Cherokee homes, a school, a print shop, a tavern, and the tribal Supreme Court Building, to this day.

though many years have passed, I keep going back to this melody.

“put the gun down” was written and composed as a separate song, many years later. it arose out of a deeply personal experience of pain, brought on by a loved one taking his own life.

the combination was not thought out… it happened naturally during a live performance. it made sense. the two songs evoked the same feeling in me – one macro, the other micro.

as a songwriter, i find it easier to get to the truth of any matter, if i can draw parallels to personal experience. atrocities that occur at a mass scale – like the trail of tears – are difficult to truly comprehend… let alone feel. but personal tragedies can help evoke empathy for the suffering of others.

~ G.

of course, confrontation and contemplation don’t necessarily bring resolution or ease of mind. sometimes they have the opposite effect...

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