My Father's Beach House in British Columbia, 1989
If every moment of your life was set to music, what would play the most often?
Would your composition consist of the same instruments, the same notes played in the same way, over and over again? Or would it be different each day--a variety of themes and genres and timbres for an ever-changing life in a constantly moving world, the kind created by the rising and falling of an individual heart?
Would its colors change or fade with the seasons?
Music permits time travel, forward and back. Music takes us back to the very time and place we first heard notes played, reaching a place in our core, where we connect to something bigger than ourselves. Regardless of our varied aptitudes in creating it, we are all wired to respond to it. Music is a gift. It allows for retrieval and respite, it promises and fulfills. It shows us the future too.
My Barn in Kansas, 2019
It fills me with joy some days. Others, it makes me feel melancholy and needy. Occasionally, it reminds me of loss. Then, it rushes to accompany me, to speak of my feelings upon arrival back. In those spaces it is new all over again. Even as it is old.
So on a day such as today, when the skies are a livid blue gray over verduous green, as a steady rain falls over a peaceful, hopeful world celebrating the newness of spring, the deep, rich notes that play in my headset are solemn and steady and promising at once. They weave a thick texture that hints at otherworldly contribution, speaking of a place beyond reach, just beyond sight, yet understood, a dimension where my current pain and longing is part of my story--my past and present, but not of my future.
My future is joy played! My present is a composition to that end.
In this moment, however, what resounds are tears and disappointments and joy and celebration at once. I'm sluffing off those melodies which no longer hold the power to sway in favor of the new notes I create as part of the great symphony I will one day join.
But sometimes I take a moment.
You see, today, forced inside by another rainy day, I once again found a stack of old photographs that hold all that remains outside of my own memory. The ones taken in a place by the sea, where the skies are mostly gray and the beaches are full of small stones. Where killer whales play in alcoves below humans who drink coffee and draw the world and tend flower beds in cool, salty air. Where what plays on the old stereo is classical but what reaches my ears is electronic and ethereal and my father is restored to me. He is sitting just above the waves at the patio table he set on a weathered deck where he will forever be enjoying his view--the one he connected with above all others, just before he left this world.
I haven't looked at those old photos but maybe three times in the last three decades. And now, seeing the misty seashore, I hear music play, and the world outside my window--a vibrant, fertile, solemn placed tucked away at the edge of Kansas, seems connected in song with a place so far away in British Columbia. A place where the same pieces still play, even as I create new notes. Places where the rain falls.
My Father's "Little Park Bench" View to the Sea, 1989
Some notes would fade completely were it not for my mind and the pictures I found today.
So, I guess it's okay to play this old music again. As long as it isn't often. As long as I don't lose myself in it. As long as I turn up the volume on the new and dance in it.