Toward the Light

by Cheryl and Emerson Martlage

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"Toward the Light" describes our journey during the 8th year. That stage of personal development and partnership brought fresh perspectives. In the early days of that period, we were seeking a better understanding of what it meant to remain present. We were excited about the possibility of living more in the moment, the "now," relaxing into a more integrated life. Possibilities abound.


released January 1, 2008

We dedicate these stories to the many leaders of evolving consciousness. They inspire us by the courage with which they have stepped forward to reveal possibilities for all of us as co-creators of an ever changing universe.

Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Mr Toad's San Francisco - Mastering
Patricia Barry Ryley - Graphic Design


all rights reserved



Cheryl and Emerson Martlage San Diego, California

At the age of 48, and after 25 years of marriage, we headed to a secluded town for 6 weeks, to create a new relationship and begin again.

When we arrived as if by magic, we co-wrote our first song ever— "Never Sleep," evoking the mystery and magic of the new adventure. Twenty years later, we're still making music. Join us on our musical storytelling as the adventure continues to unfold
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Track Name: Toward the Light
From the dawning of morning
I follow the sun
Knowing where I’ll be when the day is done

Chase the path of the sunlight
All the while summer days linger on
Stretching into weeks before me
Then fade, turning into falling autumn leaves

Scattered and swirling in the wind
However it has come to be, wherever it begins

The wind carries them along, the lost days of summer
Taking their flight toward the light

Could it be that, as they are whirling ‘round
Lighter than before, they’re homeward bound

Could it be they are really flying now
Breaking free at last from the ground, seeking the light
They are breaking free
Soaring to the light

Just as those lost days of summer, finally
Somehow fall away
There’s another day

And if those days are numbered
I will follow the sun
Chase the path of light
Until there is none

As the lost days of summer
Surely follow each other along
Week by week and winter into springtime
Always, ever turning toward the light
Track Name: Thread of Life
Thread of life, spun by Fate
Binding together yesterday
With all that’s yet to be

From somewhere into this world
Spirit arrives as a boy or a girl
Through the eyes of a child
We see where we’ve been, where we’re bound
All of Life’s threads tightly wound

Day by day, so it seems
Life continues within all of our dreams
In the eyes of a child
We see who we are, who we’ve been
Imagine starting again

Somehow Life goes on
One begins when another is done
Through the life of a child
We are

Web of life spun by Fate
Binding together yesterday
With all that’s yet to be
One day
Track Name: Something Out of Nothing
From out of nowhere, unexpected
In a flash of brilliance
Suddenly a notion came to me
Took me by surprise
Something out of nothing

From absolutely nowhere, unpredicted
Nothing less than
Just a little stroke of genius
That thought appeared

Right before my eyes
Fell into my hands
Something out of nothing

Words fill the air
On our daily walks without destination
Footsteps keeping time

At home we sort through what we’ve said
Always looking for sparks of inspiration
Taking bits that have been lived
Then turn them into rhyme
Songs to mark the time
Something out of something

Sometimes we talk with friends while noting what they say
Once in a while a story grows from new places discovered
Often just watching everyday life stirs a dream

Then from out of nowhere, overwhelming
Where nothing was before
Appearing all at once
At my fingertips
Something out of nothing

Far beyond all reason,
Dreams and daydreams
From out of nowhere
A flash of inspiration
Right before your eyes
Falls into you hands

Just believe your eyes
Something out of nothing
Track Name: Backyard Tent
Do you remember
When you were younger
You found a quiet place

That only you knew
Where you could be all alone
To figure out the day

Was it under a tree
Or beside a rushing stream
Maybe even inside a
Tattered backyard tent

I still remember
When I was worried
Or had something on my mind

I’d steal away
To my secret hideout
Where weighty doubts would disappear

My private refuge
Was always waiting
Where all uncertainty
Seemed to fade

Was it really that way
Just as simple as it seemed
Cares resolved inside my
Tattered backyard tent

Can you imagine
Now that you’re older
Your secret, quiet place

That only you know
Where you can be all alone
To figure out the day

Time and time again
To figure out the day
Track Name: Finish Line
Sunday morning at seven
10-speeds to take us on our way
All the gear is packed and ready
Final check before we get started
Know just where mid-day will find us

We’ve made a number of shorter rides
This is the longest we’ve tried
To a finish line
That makes it worth all of our time
Yeah, it’s the finish line
That we have in mind

On each and every ride, we always take some time
To laugh and talk together, rhythms aligned
It really makes no difference whether we’re going slow or fast
What matters more are milestones that we pass
Soaring by patchwork fields of green
Meadows as far as we can see

Over the summit we pick up our pace
As we glide downhill, wind our faces
Tires hum and spin
Birds sit on lines with all of their friends
Watch us and wonder where we have been

Take a break around lunchtime
Under the shade of a maple tree
Eating while we are talking
Last minute thoughts before getting started
We conclude there is no reason

To focus only on the end
The best place is the one that we’re in
Not a finish line
That makes it worth all of our time
It’s not the finish line
That we have in mind

There is no finish line
Track Name: Dear Dad
Dear Dad
Hope you are feeling better soon
It was so good to see you
Sorry I couldn’t stay
There’s always so much to be done
That I had to be on my way

Tell Mom
I know she ‘s doing all she can
Somehow try not to worry
Tomorrow’s another day
But I always have so much to do
I had to be on my way

I know it doesn’t matter much
There’s nothing I can do
Yet somehow, at least for the moment
Everything seems okay
Maybe after all you’ve been through
You’re finally on your way
At last, finally on your way

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I handed you a crayoned paper
Folded heart Valentine: “I love you, my big tall Daddy”

It seems like only yesterday you taught me to bait a fish-hook
I thought they wanted crusts of bread, instead of earthworms
Casting lines, spending time—childhood memories
Those times were so long ago, still I remember

So Dad
Know that you are on my mind
If you happen to need me
I’m only a call away
We’ll talk of all the times we’ve shared
And ones that are yet to be
The story of you and me
Track Name: Say When
Eight AM at the Blue Rock Café
Half a cup more, then I’ll be on my way
As he pours, Memo asks how I’ve been
Before I answer, he says, “Just say ‘when’”
Say ‘when’

Just say ‘when’ is how we both agree
So the two of us decide how much it’s going to be
And though I have the final say
That bargain’s made already
When he says, "Say 'when’

Two PM my friend takes me aside
When I have the time, there’s something to confide
But I tell him we’ll have to meet again
Maybe lunch one day, he says, “Just say ‘when’”
Say ‘when’

Just say ‘when’ is how we both agree
So the two of us decide which day it’s going to be
And though I have the final say
That bargain’s made already
When he says, "Say 'when’

And it goes without my saying
That my handshake is as good as my word
When you look in my eyes you know who I am
Just like you

One AM and I’m finally off to bed
With a million thoughts spinning in my head
After Taking stock, I’d do it all again
Trading comfort in the times we “Just say 'when'”

That’s the way the two of us agree
If we just say when
That’s the way that we see eye to eye
If we just say when
That’s the way the bargain’s made

Just say when
Track Name: The Cyclone
Midsummer at the Lake
We dare to ride the Cyclone
Together, never alone
Firmly holding onto the bar as our car climbs up
Then dashes down, defying each sharp turn
Crashing down, through each sharp turn

Hands in the air
We’re flying over the midway
Wind in our hair
The swells and the yells
Fill the night with the promise of thrills
Brakes squeal and burn
Long lines form at the turn style
All waiting their turn
The clack of the track
Captivates them, casting a spell
feel of the ride, thrill of the daze
Enthralled with it all, carried away

The ride suddenly is through
Exhausted, at last I step from the car
Then once again compose myself
Now calm and steady
I head for the end of the line
One more time

Thrill of the ride, thrill of the spell
Enthralled with it all, falling into a trance
A ride to recall, thrill in taking a chance

Late summer at the Lake
We dared to ride the Cyclone
Together, never alone
Day after day we rode that summer away
Thrill of the ride, defying each sharp turn
Enthralled with it all, swept under a spell
A ride to recall, the thrill of it all
Track Name: Sidetracked
If tomorrow is Tuesday
Then I’ve lost a whole day
I still have yet to finish
Everything I do on Mondays

If today isn’t Tuesday
There isn’t much I can say
Except time escaped me
I’m right back where I started

Running around and getting nowhere
Once again

Through a hole in my pocket
Maybe that’s how I lost it
Time is so elusive
Hard to hold

I was somehow distracted
Momentarily sidetracked
So much to think about
My head was in the clouds

Running around and getting nowhere
Once again

Suddenly chores are past due
Dozens of things are in queue
I’ll have to write it down
To get it all done

At least the basics met
No chance to try and sidestep
Simply prioritize
My feet are on the ground

Running around and getting nowhere

Are you sure it’s not Tuesday
Although I may be somewhat confused
Or mistaken
All odds are in my favor

I’m fairly sure that it’s Tuesday
Just admit you’ve made a mistake
Time escaped you
I’m not back where I started

Running around and getting somewhere
Don’t you see

There’s no way
I’m starting all over again
In fact, right here is where I need to begin
Track Name: Here to Stay
Here to stay
Despite whatever I might say
Trying times
All the way through empty rhymes

No matter how the world may try and trouble me
I’m here to stay
Left alone with only one simple question
Who else can I be

Here to stay
Even if you should turn away
Weary times
Far beyond and between the lines

Though I feel swept aside at times, could lose my way
I’m here to stay

In view of all things
There is a song to sing
I have my part to play, that
Only I bring

What I must bear in mind
Each role is well-defined
This is the only way
Nothing to find

So I’m here to stay
Whatever happens, come what may
Tempered times
I’ve had my share of taking sides

So for today and always I will carry on
I’m here to stay
There is no reason to change my mind
I’m here to stay

Here to stay
Track Name: Il Filo della Vita
La vita, tessuta dal Destino
Che ci ha legati ieri
A tutto quel che, verra’ un giorno

Da qualche parte e in questo mondo
Lo spirito arriva come un bimbo
E attraverso i suoi occhi

Vediam, dov’eravam e dove andiam
I fili della vita ben vicin

Ogni giorno, sembra che
La vita continui nei nostri sogni
E negli occhi di un bimbo

Vediam, chi siam, chi eravam
Immagina ricominciar

In qualche modo, la Vita continua
una comincia dove ne finisce un'altra
Nella vita di un bimbo


La vita, tessuta dal Destino
Che ci ha legati ieri
A tutto quel che, verra’ un giorno