So, today the EAM Blues and Jazz bands are making great music over at Frontier Park. And, a horn player is giving a recital presentation at PACA. And, tomorrow there are at least three live music events within a ten minute radius. But, read on…..

Yes, this, this is my first summer in 27 years at home with no responsibilities or looming deadlines. Yet, there has been a curious and pernicious internal battle with…inertia.

Or, is it, really?

Because, right now, Emmylou Harris is singing a heart-rending and I mean heart-rending tribute on A Prairie Home Companion – online, directly behind this screen. And, in the wake of last night’s shimmering visit with the past (see “Garrison Keillor at Chautauqua”),  I am content to listen.

But, inertia. An inability to move.

Is that really it?

“No external forces brought to bear…..”

Contemplating the whole notion of prepared performance that is the orchestra, for example, a big part of my current and past life. Realizing that, when the show is the result of intensive effort, the preoccupying need to tell people about it so that they’ll come and somehow share in it is acutely felt.

So, really, we all want people to share in our efforts. We want somehow to draw everybody else into what it is that we do, so that they will comprehend, in fact, that we are working and making our lives meaningful. And, we hope that they will choose our performance, and realize that it truly is the most important thing that they could be doing tonight because, well, it will be beautiful, or intriguing, or impressive, or transcending.

Always amazing to me, when I was younger, was the discovery that there were those with no apparent interest at all in what I and my colleagues had to offer. There were merging feelings of bafflement and contempt that turbulated within me. We were providing for them the most excellent, the most valuable listening experience anywhere. What was wrong with people, anyway?

Last night, I was part of a throng and I mean throng of two thousand five hundred strong. What were we doing, exactly? We were sitting in a vast near-circle, on hard benches that leaned back just a little too far. And, a good distance from us, there were seven people on a stage. These seven people were there to provide for us an evening of nothing greater than good company – singing, reciting poetic verse, playing their instruments – all led by the man who knew the secret of what it was and why it was that we descended in droves to be there. He was the storyteller. He would tell us the story of ourselves, and we would return to the place where he had found us. Together, we would gently gather up the pieces of lost intentions, old feelings, discarded beliefs, past relationships, until we were all put back together. Collectively. Put together. Mended.

So, tonight, finally, recognition.

There will always be somebody else’s show to see, or concert to hear, or restaurant to try, or big event not to miss. Living to fulfill the expectations of others, should they decide that this is what is important of us, is the lesser life. Expressing the freedom to choose from this vast array of human contribution is the truest form of being, and probably the most nourishing to the spirit.

© ruth a. scanzillo  8/3/13

all rights reserved.

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