It surrounds us, it takes us back in time, it cements moments of the present and is our dream of the future. At its best, we allow ourselves to be swallowed up by the sheer joy or the sadness. We tap our fingers to the rhythm, whisper the words and feel our breath swell in our chests.
I spent my time in the womb hearing the strains of Chopin, Beethovon, and Puccini and I truly believe my first conscious thought was of music. By two, my stubby little fingers were picking notes out on the keyboard, ones that made me giggle in delight, middle G, E flat, or pulling my thumb my arm’s length across the keys, my first music.
While my friends were listening to Johnny Angel, I was just as apt to fall asleep with Segovia or Madame Butterfly or later, Willy Nelson on my stereo.
As the years went by, I learned that it was music to which I turned when grief, disappointment, sadness, contentmentment, happiness, or excitement descended upon me. It carried me away from the moment, sometimes a canoe ride on a quiet stream and other times, in a kayak through the rapids.
Not being among them, I’ve always envied those who could sing and I’m drawn to the sound of character. For me, pretty voices are only that, pretty voices singing words on a piece of paper but lacking the dimension and depth that I need to hear to be satisfied. I enjoy Celine Dion the way I like frosting on my cupcakes but I let myself be filled by Janis Joplin and the overwhelming passion for life that came out of her. With her, I will laugh and I will cry but she could never be background music. There isn’t a song recorded by Grace Slick that hasn’t given me something. I am carried away by the rawness of Joe Cocker, moved by the energy of the Stones, and, like every woman, want to hear a voice like Leonard Cohen whispered in my ear when making love.
I once said , when referring to my preference in men “I like to see a little character on their faces, a little living on their bodies and a little humor in their eyes. I like to see hands that have known hard work and have a little dirt under the nails to prove it.” I like my music the same way.
When I can’t hear words, I can hear music and sometimes, it says all that needs to be said.