We are just now watching the final five episodes of TREME. Knowing they were there, that they existed whole and fresh and unconsumed, was a $20 bill stuffed deep in the pocked of a seldom-worn raincoat. When John Boutte (accent above the "e") stepped slowly into his goosebumps version of "A Change Is Gonna Come," it felt like being home. I missed these so-human characters and their stories. I promised myself to be unswervingly diligent about making what music I make. The thought "making music and cooking" appeared as an image of my hand, writing the words in my planner. Not the "To Do" list, the "Must Be" list. Part of my not-entirely vague manifesto states that there can only be one thing at the top of a list. That is generally true, yet here I am with making music, cooking, writing and drawing and other heart-driven choices side by side like piano keys, claiming my time, elbowing each other across the first line in the notebook.
Boutte's voice has more than hints of Sam Cooke. When he starts to sing in the episode, I start to sing.
We each find solace where we can. With loss consuming so much of life, I see it as miraculous that we do anything other than grieve. There is music, there is tomorrow, there is hope. Perhaps all joyful pursuits, all that dazzles and transfixes us, living versions of Dr. Seuss showing us how impossibly happy the Whos are at Christmas, are whistling in the dark. The only sensible option is to keep whistling.
From Wendell Berry, this: