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I Can Hear The Bells

Updated: Dec 30, 2023





I finished this song on a snowy Christmas morning after everything seemed to have gone wrong in the world. I was overwhelmed with sadness, and I looked out of my window as the church bells rang in our little village. Everything was so still before those first footsteps in the snow that morning. I decided to go outside with my children to shake off the gloom.  It's amazing what a little snow can do to lift your spirits! My youngest was very young, and as I watched them play, she filled the yard with her tiny footprints. I thought, “I am so lucky!” I was filled with gratitude for every little footprint because it meant that I had them safe with me. We have a good home. We have enough. We have each other. I imagined a host of angels in little halos sending their lovely snowflakes, one by one to comfort us.

 

I started this song with Sean Cunnington, a dear friend with whom I have written over 80 songs. I came to the back door of his cosy house in Milton and was greeted by his pretty wife, Teri. It was such a welcoming place, and I loved my time with him, shaking all of the ideas out of my head to land at his feet like snow off of my coat. He could always make sense of them. I’d start with a chorus, usually…just a great hook that I’d keep re-singing until I had a verse or two. Sometimes I’d change up the lyrics in the second and third verses. A true storyteller, I often can’t bear to waste the opportunity to delve a little deeper into the story. But this song was different. I was troubled by recent events and I didn’t know how to lift the mood from that sorrowful first verse. I left with it hanging over me like a question mark.

 

My Tante Ida left us on Christmas Eve, and I was lucky enough to be with her and my cousins when she passed. I brought them with me to my parents house where everyone else was waiting. And on such a sad Christmas Eve, my cousin, Edeltraud (who I also called Tante) asked me to sing. I sang Leise Rieselt Der Schnee, the only voice in the room singing, at first. I have always found great comfort in singing, and I was so glad when a few joined me for The First Noel. Finally, all of us sang Stille Nacht (Silent Night) together. It reminded me of when we would all sing together when I was very young. She and my Oma were so beautiful, and so alike. So close as sisters. My Oma had passed years before, and I knew my Dad was grateful that we were there with him. It was the end of an era.

 

So many years have passed since that Christmas, and more have left us, including her son and daughter, my friend Sean, and so many more, besides. But I try to keep that sense of peace, together in our family. Even in our darkest moments, we can hold each other close and appreciate what we have. And one thing we learned from them was that you can’t hold onto sadness too long. Light will always out. On that Christmas morning with my kids, the words just came to me. In the early morning light, the bells rang, and I was filled with hope again.

 

 

 

100% of proceeds from the digital download and sale of this single on CD will benefit the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. CDs of the single are available for sale at Baby Charlotte and at babycharlotte.com for $5.99. You can download the single wherever you stream music. Our food bank needs us. Please give generously.



I Can Hear The Bells


Frost is in the air

There's a stillness on this town

And all who come to worship

Search for peace and comfort now

The sidewalks cold and dark

No footprints in the snow

The answers no one has

And no one knows


But I can hear the bells

Heralding the dawn

I still believe in Christmas

In a world where all seems wrong

And I imagine angels

All in their tinsel crowns

Sending us their comfort

In the snow that's drifting down

Sending us their comfort

In the snow that's drifting down


No words have I to take

This emptiness away

No reason

I can think of left to pray

But hope is not of reason

And faith not borne of fear

The earth in silent stillness

Is still here


And I can hear the bells

Heralding the dawn

I still believe in Christmas

In a world where all seems wrong

And I imagine angels

All in their tinsel crowns

Sending us their comfort

In the snow that's drifting down

Sending us their comfort

In the snow that's drifting down

Sending us their comfort

In the snow that's drifting down


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