The division bell chimes to signal the start of a new era.
It’s an era filled with promise, wisdom and hope for a fruitful life that unravels new adventures.
In those adventures, I highly anticipate the gatherings, experiences, concerts and music that will fill my life with joy.
One could say I have “High Hopes” for the fourth decade of my life, which will arrive in a matter of weeks and encourage me to reflect back on who I’ve become.
At this point, nothing sums it up better than Pink Floyd’s 1994 ode to what’s been lost and gained in life, “High Hopes,” from “The Division Bell.”
The nearly eight-minute track opens with the ring of the division bell coupled with a somber piano to indicate life is ready to close one chapter and start another.
Together, the two sounds paint a mental picture of time passing in my mind and a montage of memories from my life.
The memories take me back to 1994 when I was a senior in high school and the thrill of traveling an unknown path that awaited me.
I can see a younger me going on my first date with my husband, jumping for joy about the journalism award I had won and cruising the idiot circle for hours on Friday with my friends.
David Gilmour’s voice acts as the narrator in the memories I can see vividly in my mind’s eye:
“Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young/In a world of magnet and miracles/Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary/The ringing of the division bell had begun.”
Yes, the division bell had rung, but it would be another 20 years before I heard it again. The next time I heard the familiar chimes was during the Echoes of Pink Floyd’s cover of “High Hopes” at the Michigan Theatre in Jackson, Mich. in January 2015.
The song brought me a sense of relief after trying to accept the losses of two loved ones just weeks before. It was time for me to carry their hope forward and make it part of my aspirations:
“At a higher altitude with flag unfurled/We reached the dizzying heights of that dreamed world.”
After singing those inspirational lyrics, David Gilmour plays a chilling classical guitar solo that saws “High Hopes” into two halves – the hopes that have already been fulfilled and the ones that have yet to surface.
For me, the hopes that surface at age 40 run the gamut from wisdom and family health to camaraderie and professional prosperity. I may know more now than I did 20 years ago, but I still hold a tight grasp on the youthful spirit that I hope never leaves my side:
“The grass was greener/The light was brighter/The taste was sweeter/The nights of wonder/With friends surrounded/The dawn mist glowing/The water flowing/The endless river/Forever and ever.”
Once the last lyrics are sung, Gilmour closes out the song with a steel guitar that gently weeps for times past, but anticipates the future ahead.
I anticipate hearing the division bell chime once again on March 31 when I see David Gilmour in concert at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. It will be the first time I hear his solo version of “High Hopes” live.
Earlier today, I read a Toronto Sun article that highlights Gilmour’s “Rattle That Lock” solo tour and his reflections on the recent passing of three iconic musicians – David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Lemmy Kilmister – and turning 70.
“I feel very relieved to have gotten to 70. I’m now fully, extremely old. I’m trying to get used to the idea … It’s slightly different, mentally,” he said.
While I’m not close to turning 70, his words do resonate with me in a different way. There’s a sense of pride, fear and hope that comes with aging and seeing another year pass by.
As for me, I’m not fearful when it comes to turning 40. Instead, I have “High Hopes” for what the next several decades will bring.