Saturday, December 3, 2011
Discord and harmony
There are 1,551 words about Robbie Robertson's song, The Weight in the Wikipedia entry. Robertson has a fan site that details the beginnings of The Band, origin of this classic.
Beyond having loved this song for years, hearing it performed by this group causes me to think more of the word harmony, and, by association, discord. The following fact will reveal me as the para-amnesiac I am. I forget to listen to music.
There is a history behind this which is complicated and of very little interest. Though I do sing when my tasks don't require all of my attention, I've grown away from a habit of intentionally brightening my life with music. I am working on doing that differently.
A friend's mention of Gillian Welsh led me to YouTube just before sleep last night, and I found the blended voices created a sense that was soothing, stilling, like a laying-on-of-hands. So much of what simply comes at us without our consent results in an effect so contradictory it seems almost too simple that, under the right conditions, with proper input, we can feel some of our overload drain away.
Doing Christmas, for that is how it feels, in a fashion that comes close to matching what is in my heart and not that toadstool-sprouting part of my mind, is a process of ignoring, avoiding and dismissing all that gives me the December whim-whams. It is a process of pruning, selecting, identifying and savoring, not getting caught up in what could set my hair on fire or reduce me to tears. The fact that the NBA lockout is over and Christmas day will include BASKETBALL is no small joy.
That this is no longer the 1950s, that I don't have, really, such things as Christmas wishes that involve gifts, that many pieces of the coming few weeks are very different than they once were does not grieve me any more. I have almost come to tolerate my indecision and pokiness about the gifts I make which are often delivered late. Christmas waits on the other side of a narrow plank that I cross with great care; care enhanced by harmony, by willfully remembering about music (not Christmas music), by taking suggestions from trusted friends as to what are reliable sources of peace, lowerers of blood pressure, raisers of spirits.
Discord can be measured by how far we tilt away from what is nourishing and mistake the mediocre - or worse - for a prevailing norm. We are intended, I absolutely believe, to be as unjangled as possible in each moment. The firm, gentle banishment of frenzy is to be sought not only in the midst of other people's aggressive jitterbug competitions, but daily, year 'round. It is a word upon which to ponder: harmony. Like any old friend, we will know it at once, no matter how long we've been apart.