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Music of the past


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"Listen. Can you hear it? The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind... in the air... in the light. It's all around us. All you have to do is open yourself up. All you have to do... is listen."

 

That is the opening voice over for the 2007 movie "August Rush", but this isn't about the movie. If you want to know more about "August Rush" here is a link August Rush

 

When I was growing up my maternal grandparents owned a farm just outside of Hammond, Louisiana, about 60 miles north of New Orleans. It was about 170 acres in size. Some of it pasture, some of it farm, some of it Pine forest and a small part swamp land. The house sat way back from the gravel main road behind a Pine grove. There were two driveways. One that ran in a straight line through the Pine grove from the front of the house to the road and a second that ran from the house to the road in between the edge of the Pine grove and the swamp. A part of the land was across that gravel road. A small part of that was pasture, but the largest part was Pine forest.

 

I vividly remember that swamp. Walking down the middle of that gravel road along side of that swamp going home from a neighbors farm on a bright moonlit night absolutely sure that those swamp shadow monsters were going to jump out and grab me. Of course, they never did, but you couldn't have convinced me that they wouldn't.

 

Each summer after school was out, the family would cross the Mississippi River from Algiers, where I grew up, to the railroad station in New Orleans and board the "Panama Limited" or the "City Of New Orleans" train for the trip to Hammond for our annual summer on the farm.

 

I think that I explored the entire 170 acres when I got to be old enough to go exploring on my own. While exploring the Pine forest across the road I discovered a clearing that was pretty much close to the middle of it. The clearing was large enough to let some sunlight in, and was covered in a carpet of soft green grass. But it wasn't overly large and made a perfect hideaway for a small boy.

 

But this isn't about the farm or that scary swamp or the summer train trips and this is where that quote from "August Rush" comes in and why it had an impact on me.

 

In the early afternoon I would make my way through the forest to my hideaway clearing and there I would lay on the grass carpet and dream the dreams of boyhood. I would watch the clouds drift across the opening in the trees that surrounded the clearing and imagine all of the fantastical shapes that they would form as they drifted by.

 

I would be open to the sounds and I would listen. To the song of the breeze and wind as it played amongst the pine trees. To the songs of the birds. To the sounds of the insects and whatever forest creatures that were about. They were the sounds of natures symphony. At the right time of day the symphony was punctuated by the lonesome wailing of a train's whistle as it approached a far off crossing, hurling down the tracks to destinations unknown.

 

That was only the day movement. The symphony didn't end at nightfall. The night movement for me would start when I crawled into my bed. My bedroom on the farm was in a corner room diagonally opposite a corner of the swamp.

 

Then it was the crickets and the tree frogs. The soprano singing of the frogs in the swamp along with the basso profundo of the bullfrogs. The hoots of an owl would add occasional accents to the music. The lowing of one of the cows or the bell that hung from the neck of the bellwether, as she moved to a different part of the night pasture, would add their own notes.

 

Every once in awhile a new performer alighting on a branch of the Oak tree that stood outside of my bed room window would add it's voice to the symphony. A blood curdling sound that would send my head under the covers to hide sure that the swamp shadow monster had found it's way to my bedroom to grab me. But it turned out to only be an old Screech Owl.

 

At some point in time I stopped listening. I don't recall when, but I suppose it was when I had to join in the cacophony of survival that is the bane and burden of adulthood and didn't have or didn't make the time to listen. By the time that madness slowed and there was again time to listen, I had forgotten how.

 

I am acutely aware of what I have lost. I know that I'll never again hear that symphony. It is now, as a character in one of the stories said, a part of the music of the past.

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I am acutely aware of what I have lost. I know that I'll never again hear that symphony. It is now, as a character in one of the stories said, a part of the music of the past.

 

 

This is a very sad statement. I grew up in Minneapolis, even though it was a thriving city there were a number of places that I would disappear to as well and listen to the music of life.

 

There was so much music to hear! My mother was a concert pianist and my older brother collected all that crazy new-kind of stuff called Rock Roll Music. (Now you know how long ago I'm talking about.) And I was a disco dancer - BIG time!

 

But the nature preserve near my house allowed me to run with deer and watch the raccoons come down from their trees at night while the owl's talked to each other, all with a backdrop of frogs and other insects. Lighting bugs used to be the light show for the music - entertainment just for me. I spent many, many times watching the sun set - or rise.

 

I still live in a thriving area with lots of people. But I chose a townhouse with an acre-sized pond out in front. I still enjoy listening to the music of life. The songs are different now, but the music is still playing and the lightening bugs are still dancing across the dark for me.

 

Oh, please don't say that you have lost the music. You just haven't taken the time to find the music hall and made the effort to listen. So few people know about the music of life - we can't afford to lose even one concert goer; you.

 

There's lots of music playing yet. Anytime you like, I'll walk out in front of my house with you and we'll have our own concert and light show - it's even free!

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Thanks, that would likely be fun.

 

Even though there are numerous places of solitude near here, no matter how much I wish it or how hard I may try, learning how to listen again has not been easy. But, I haven't given up, I keep trying to hear the music again. It may be a new and different symphony, but I'm sure that it'll be one to touch the soul. Some of the venues are simply breathtaking.

 

Minneapolis, huh! I lived in Minneapolis for 17 years. First in an apartment not far from Loring Park. Then had a home on South Lyndale Ave near Lake Harriet. After I sold the home, I had an apartment near Cedar Lake.

 

Left Minneapolis for awhile and traveled. Then went back to Minnesota and rented a house in Brooklyn Park. The winters finally drove me back to New Orleans for a time. Grew to hate snow. LOL

Edited by Tomas
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I think the problem you may be experiencing is that you are listening with your ears and not your heart. I hear the symphony everywhere, in the city, in the town in the country, from the murmur of voices to the clicking of the train, the birds outside my window in the mornings and evening, the cats at night, the drunk people coming home from the club at the end of the street, the wind, the rain. Sigh. I love music.

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Wonderful post Thomas :worship:

I like the way you wrote. You should try ro write a story here. I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy it.

Nephylim is right, you have to hear with your heart. Past is always here and nothing is gone. Just relax and listen "inside".

I am a "town boy", traveled a lot but now I'm living in Geneva (Switzerland), in town but in a quarter surrounded by green parks with very old trees, not far from the lake. I enjoy the mix of birds singing and the "noises" of children in the schools in the neighborhood. Noise is "life" and it's the proof that I'm still alive.

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Minneapolis, huh! I lived in Minneapolis for 17 years. First in an apartment not far from Loring Park. Then had a home on South Lyndale Ave near Lake Harriet. After I sold the home, I had an apartment near Cedar Lake.

 

Left Minneapolis for awhile and traveled. Then went back to Minnesota and rented a house in Brooklyn Park. The winters finally drove me back to New Orleans for a time. Grew to hate snow. LOL

 

Ever hear Neil Diamond's song called Beautiful Noise?

 

OK, so you're aware of how the chain of lakes is draped across the city. I lived in Kenwood, between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles. As a young man I used to sneak out at night, visiting Cedar's nude beach. Many memorable experiences garnered on Cedar Lake's little nude beach! But that's QUITE another subject...

 

Or I would wait for all the raccoons to descend from the trees on the island in Lake of the Isles; they would all swim en mass to shore like an invading army. Silent half-a-lumps emerging from the water, shaking off, transforming into raccoons before spreading out, scouting for food. Quite a sight.

 

I certainly understand about the winters. I've had WAY too many of those. Never liked them to begin with. Purchased a chunk of land in the (much warmer) Smokey Mountains, hoping to build my retirement home there - soon!

 

Talk about the music of life! Those breathtaking mountains don't just sing - it's a full blown opera!

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But the nature preserve near my house allowed me to run with deer and watch the raccoons come down from their trees at night while the owl's talked to each other, all with a backdrop of frogs and other insects. Lighting bugs used to be the light show for the music - entertainment just for me. I spent many, many times watching the sun set - or rise.

 

Ahhh. Beethoven Sym. 6, Pastoral, 3rd Movt. would sound perfect in that setting.

 

Steve

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I would have chosen the 5th movement of Beethoven's 6th in F Major "Pastoral" The Shepherds Song after the storm or the 2nd movement Largo of Dvorak's 9th in E minor "From the New World", or Perhaps the 2nd movement of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, but that's just me.

 

The Symphony of which I spoke in my OP is indeed a part of the music of the past never to he heard again because that concert hall no longer exists, but it still abides in my memory. The new music is all around and I can sense it quite clearly, but it doesn't as of yet fill my heart. There are many doors still to be opened that were shut over the years and pains to be worked through and the concert hall to found before the music again plays in my heart. But it will in it's own time, of that I have no doubt.

 

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The Symphony of which I spoke in my OP is indeed a part of the music of the past never to he heard again because that concert hall no longer exists, but it still abides in my memory. The new music is all around and I can sense it quite clearly, but it doesn't as of yet fill my heart. There are many doors still to be opened that were shut over the years and pains to be worked through and the concert hall to found before the music again plays in my heart. But it will in it's own time, of that I have no doubt.

 

 

 

Hope and optimism. Vital qualities, both.

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