Sufjan Stevens’ Wallowa Lake Monster put me to sleep after restless nights

I have been sleepless for most of the summer and not just from the sweltering heat. Two friends died from Covid-19 and my short, voluntary career break seemed like a bad decision. A series of dark and white nights passed before a music app suggested a solution. The songs were playing in shuffle mode when Wallowa Lake Monster by American singer and songwriter Sufjan Stevens came. You may know him to compose Mystery of love – the anthem of the film Call me by your name.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Wallowa Lake Monster cured my insomnia. But it was the perfect lullaby that made it easier for me to sleep.

The song tells the tragic story of a mother by drawing parallels with a biblical creature, the Leviathan, who sleeps at the bottom of a lake. It wasn’t the misfortune of the fictional characters that put me to sleep – I’m certainly not morbid. It was the way the story was told, in a calm, firm tone with dramatic instrumental interludes that blocked the anxiety in my mind.

The more I listened to the song, the more it grew in me. In one case, it brought up childhood memories involving friends and a lake inside the Shivaji University campus in my hometown of Kolhapur. We drove to its shore to play stories. Our group of friends would participate in imaginary battles in which we would fight monsters and find portals to other supernatural dimensions.

As he grew up, these antics were replaced by sports. But the lake stayed close to my heart. I read there for hours as a teenager, exploring the many mysteries of Agatha Christie and devouring most of the books in the Harry Potter series. I always make a point of visiting the lake.

During this time, Wallowa Lake Monster stayed with me for six months. It’s still the most played song on my playlist and it will probably stay there for a long time for the comfort it gave my restless mind.

Read all articles from the Comfort zone series here.


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