Living Well

My Adirondack Soundtracks

To say it has been a wet Spring is a bit of an understatement. I think I can count on one hand the number of sunny days we have had . . . or even sunny parts of days. So Spring gardening has been hard to get to.

Finally, this week, there was an afternoon of sun, and I took my opportunity to get in the garden and pull out the weeds and debris that had gathered since last Fall. To keep me happily engaged in the project, I decided to listen to some music. But what would it be on this afternoon of sun and abundant Adirondack beauty? It would be Paul Winter Consort’s Missa Gaia. Composed in 1981, the Missa Gaiais a stunning intertwining of sacred texts and sounds of the created world – whales, wolves, waterfalls – in a jazz format. “All the Earth forever turning; for the skies, for every sea; To our Lord, we sing returning home to our blue green hills of earth.” Yes, this seemed like the very soundtrack for the day. To dig in the earth, to look around me and see the blue green mountains and hear the sound of the rain-swollen river nearby – these were the very expressions of the music, and of God.

My Adirondack SoundtracksToday, I awoke to another foggy, rainy day. After some morning errands, I arrived home to another small window without rain. No sun this time and another garden to weed and clean. What would carry me along? I began to think about my family roots here in the mountains, going back at least 150 years on my dad’s side of the family. And I thought of my dad. He is 100 years old and lives in a nursing home. He doesn’t have dementia, but his thoughts and his conversation are an interesting, humorous, and much-of-the-time fictitious mix of his life’s experiences. While he’ll engage in a conversation of sorts for a little while, what he loves more than anything is listening to music on his MP3 player. He has a running set list of jazz and big band music from the 1930’s and 1940’s. So, in honor of Dad, and the life I treasure here in the mountains, today I listened to Benny Goodman and his orchestra. It was a different connection to the earth – to roots of a family sort; deep, sometimes tangled, old, firm.

I wonder what the soundtrack will be tomorrow . . .