The wisdom of the ages-old adage “This too shall pass” tracks back to Persian times and Sufi poets. Various tellings from a multitude of traditions recount a random Eastern monarch who wished to have a ring etched with a saying that would help him through hard times. The saying certainly accomplishes that goal, but also has a way of cutting through on the flip side, as well. Not only does sorrow eventually fade, so does joy. On one hand, it’s a bulwark against wallowing too deeply in despair. On the other, it’s a reminder to be present fully in each moment.
But that’s life, isn’t it? The human condition, riddled with peaks and paradoxes, never stays in or on any one setting for very long. Every moment is fleeting, as is every emotion, no matter how tightly we cling.
Such is the leit motif of David Huckfelt’s musical rumination, “Still and Still Moving.” The juxtaposition is right there in the title, just as it is in the song. Gentle electric runs underpin an only slightly more urgent acoustic strum, as Huckfelt’s knotty voice relays casual contemplations on how “nothing’s built to last” in this night or in this life.
“I’ve tried to live kind, spend my love on you,” he offers, almost apologetically, because he knows what’s coming next is nothing but uncertainty. “Worried heart, worried mind, strum the worried blues. Didn’t know, couldn’t know how deep to dig the well. Hearts learn or do not learn to ring out like a bell.”
Huckfelt’s mind is steeped in the knowledge of theology, just as deeply as his heart is in the poetry of emotion. In this piece, he meets in the middle, recognizing that the struggle of our mundane earthly existences eventually give way to a sacred, unknowable realm, and the best we can do, right here, right now, is to forsake lies for love, unless we want a tarnished legacy left in our wake: “So goodbye to high crimes, the race, the game, the lie,” he sings, as an adieu. “Don’t know, can’t know what happens when we die. But when we live what we give, like thunder in the sky, lingers long, never gone, an old-world lullaby.”
The song’s coda holds its truest beauty, though. In it seems to sit the idea that God — in whatever way any of us defines that — fills our souls upon our passing, even while having been there all along.“The cup that’s never empty is filled. Still and still moving, still.” It’s another paradox that the Sufi poets regularly addressed, the notion that the thing we are all constantly seeking is right there in us — always has been, always will be. It’s the one thing that never shall pass.