15 December 2010
Something that I love in real life, and also in literature and music and art in general, is the idea of the benediction, the idea that a blessing doesn’t have to come from on high, but can come from someone else, someone we don’t even know, or not even from a person. Sometimes a thing, an event, a small coincidence, just a slice of a moment can be a benediction. A blessing, a well-wishing, a tiny flick of a flashlight beam of benevolence briefly playing over us.
Maybe that’s what this song is about. The Midnight Special is a train. The headlight is her “everlovin’ light.” There are stories about the Midnight Special being a train whose headlight would shine into Sugarland prison in Houston, but I don’t know about that. I just love this simple request, this sparely-stated desire for a small blessing, this allowance: “Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me.”