Music feeds on memory of our perceptions that are no more, because they belong to a moment in the past. The past may be a week, a year, many years. We do not write of what is happening presently, but always of things in the past. Like poetry, we remember the songs of moments that meant something to us, and we concur with Simone Weil who said that “distance is the soul of beauty.”
Three years ago, I walked by the coast of Wales on a crisp summer morning. The sun wasn’t up yet and I was chilled to the bones by the Atlantic wind. As the hours drizzled by, I thought less of the cold than all the hills I’ve climbed, all the seas I’ve swum in, all the songs I’ve sung. I hummed Jeannette Alexander’s Common Ground or what I could recall of this lyric tune. And I realized that this was a “Thoreau moment”, when memories seemed to float like the windblown leaves, like rain droplets held eternally in the summer air.
Jeanette Alexander, Common Ground, from her album, Open Sky