Bear Bones - The Garden

For me, this song perfectly captures some of the emotions and feelings that can arise when we grieve and the struggles of having to go on without the person you love. For example; the contemplation of getting older and facing our own mortality, the change of smell and atmosphere in the house, the frustration with life and the desire to give up, the reluctance to move a loved ones clothes or make changes. and the occasional moments when you are unable to grasp the fact that your loved one is actually gone.  

I first heard The Garden being performed over ten years ago when I attended a showcase of Scottish bands in a little venue called The Captain's Rest in the West End of Glasgow (which sadly doesn't exist anymore). Not being familiar with any of the acts, I wasn't sure what to expect however, when the eight members of Bear Bones crammed onto the tiny stage carrying acoustic guitar, accordian, ukulele, banjo, clarinet, cello and a set of bells, I knew it was going to be something special. After s
tarting off their set with some witty banter - which instantly endeared them to me and the rest of the crowd - they went on to play a selection of beautiful self-written Scottish folk songs about love, loss and island life. 

For their last tune of the night, the lead singer, Ben, asked us all to sit crossed-legged on the floor (assuring us that he had personally brushed it earlier so knew it was *fairly* clean). When we had all settled, he told the short story of how his girlfriend worked in a cafe where an elderly man used to come in quite regularly. After building up a friendship, the man confided in the young woman that his wife had died the year before, and that his visits to the cafe and their friendly chats were the only thing keeping him going.  After his girlfriend relayed this story to Ben, he crafted this song which is written from the perspective of the husband whose wife had died. 

That night in the Captain's Rest, as the opening ukulele chords hit the air, a hushed silence came over the room and the sixty or so people on the floor sat with their gaze fixed intently on the stage throughout the performance. When the song came to an end, the silence continued for a few seconds and I glanced around - every person I could see was sitting wiping tears from their face. The room was electric with emotion, and it felt like a communal grieving experience for this unknown man's wife (with an overspill of grief for our own losses mixed amongst it). 

The moment was broken by the venue management coming in and telling everyone to stand up due to us being a fire hazard - but I'm pretty sure we were all ready to get up to give rapturous applause anyway.