Sometimes the only thing you can do for someone you care about is to stand back, let them fall, and bear witness to the trials they go through. That may not sound like much, but sometimes it’s enough for someone to know that their struggle is recognized.
I had two musical influences that collided with life to form this song. The first is Heather Dale’s Mordred’s Lullaby. There are always those songs that are so perfect you wish you’d written them, but of course you didn’t. This is one of mine. I utterly love the layered chanting underneath the melody, and wanted to do something similar (I have a couple of earlier songs somewhat in that vein I’ll share at some point).
The other song is Leslie Hudson’s My Dear, My Doubt. There are more musical flavor similarities to this song, but the big influence was the lines in the first verse that were like a punch to the gut.
“Where are you when I need you
To watch me struggle through
Not to save me
I can swim
Just to bear a witness to”
That moment of “ohhh… that’s what I was trying to tell you.” Too late to be heard.
Witness at the Gate came together some months later when I found myself on the other side witnessing a friend’s choices and knowing there was nothing I could do to help because they needed to work things out for themselves. All I could do was use music to say “I see you. And I’m still here, but I can’t follow you.” So I put a light in my window, musically speaking, and let go.