Music and the blessed memories it evokes. During these days full of quiet, songs twirl in my head. Sheltering at home, mental filing cabinets open and lingering lyrics show themselves. Without as much to distract me, songs drift in like radio static but with the help of the internet a vivid tune-in reveals each sound and word – picker uppers for the most part.
This week one came floating through performed by The Association, an American “sunshine pop” band with countless hits in the late 1960s. The song was “Time for Livin’”, and no wonder, the lyrics sounded peppy advice on the merit of slowing down.
And so here we are. This past weekend, like so many in my life, we cooked out. This time my attention was stilled in a musical sanctuary. I was holding a locally crafted beer, D had his regularly brewed ice tea and we were gliding between tasks. He was busy with charcoal preparations for Pig and Leaf http://pigandleaf.com pork chops as I welded my knife through paprika potatoes and marinaded carrots.
We floated as we always have (pre and post children) to music “MC”ed by Dalton, connoisseur of an incredible variety of damn good music. He made use of lamentations about the comic book collection tossed by a parent in a clean up frenzy. The outcome was a fiercely protected album collection which has been carefully moved and stored throughout the decades.
In recent years we purchased a Crosley turntable in our very own small town from Variety Record Shop http://variety records.com. Dalton slowly retrieves one jewel-like recording after another, displaying the artful covers of what’s currently featured in-house.
The Weprin family has also gifted him with Vinyl Me, Please an album a month for some time http://vinylmeplease.com. I have been the beneficiary of a surprise education on many eclectic and favored artists.
Time travel is something I enjoy. I easily can see the young couple we were – energy to burn and emotion to unload. The past casts a flow of comfort and as Joan Didion said, it is the denial of time – “a state with another by which we view ourselves as someone significantly younger.”
Interesting to note that hard wired music perpetuates youthful joy during the process of living it out. Case in point, the day of my father’s funeral Dalton played the score of Oklahoma, reminding us of the effervescence that Daddy pitched to our family.
On this night of padding around, Dalton pulled out a cover unknown to me, then smiled as he silently placed the needle down. We sat and sipped and discovered Paul Horn’s album Inside. Horn, the pioneer of world music, sold more than three quarters of million copies of this album recorded at the Taj Mahal in 1969. Known for his mastery of the flute, clarinet and saxophone, he lectured throughout a lifetime on creativity and the higher spiritual values of music.
We listened and were comforted. I’ve linked this treasure to something a farmer friend once introduced to me: windbreaks. They are a certain sort of planting. Windbreaks are barriers that serve to reduce or redirect the wind, they control invasive weeds and ensure that the land where they are planted have an abundance of water.
What is music but a windbreak that buoys our souls. As Virginia Wolf once said, “arrange whatever pieces that come your way.” The props are ever changing, but I’ve found in the melodic poetry of music a necessity that remains sacrosanct.
Tolstoy’s comment ripples, “music is the shorthand of emotion.” It casts a timeless spell of enchantment – a “Time for Livin’” and listening.