All summer long, my world has been deathly quiet. This is something unexpected, strange and rather unnerving.
There has always been music in my life. My earliest childhood memories come bathed in classical music. A symphony was always playing in this toddler’s head. The glories of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Sibelius, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Liszt (my father’s favorites) enveloped me and nurtured me as I grew inch-by-inch. In those days, I thought the music was soothing and pretty. It served as a balm for the hurts of an impoverished life.
By age ten, I had developed my own musical sensibilities. This was the era of rock and roll, the heyday of Motown, the British invasion and psychedelic music. The songs mirrored the turbulent times perfectly. Every testosterone-fueled emotion in this youth’s heart was captured in the music of the day. My hair was long. I played drums in a rock band. Music was practically my entire life. Whether stoned or straight, infatuated, lovelorn, angry, hopeful, disillusioned, inspired, tormented, crazy, orgasmic or thrilled…somebody, somewhere, somehow crafted music to fit my mood. The music played on and on.
I came to truly appreciate classical music in my thirties. It took a bit of living before I could understand the sublime experience that a symphony could offer. My father was proud and thrilled to find that I had cultivated my own unique taste. We both felt great joy in sharing our favorite operas and symphonies. We took it one step farther…I introduced my father to my rock roots. Slowly, he began to hear and understand. Pity that he passed away…there was so much left to share.
My love of classical music did not diminish, in any way, my passion for rock. In fact, my musical horizons kept expanding with every passing year. In my forties, I began exploring every musical genre. The creativity, nuance, and sheer majesty of the human heart and soul can be found in sound. I devoured music in huge gulps, but my appetite only grew larger.
It came to be that, after a lifetime of listening, I had somehow managed to create an amazing jukebox somewhere within my neural network. I could recall a song at will – “hearing” it in its entirety. I would recall a song to fit every possible emotion. I would compile mixes that reflected the ebb and flow of my heart. My life had a soundtrack. It was rich and it was comforting.
The music died this summer. All is silence (except for the unrelenting screech of tinnitus in my ears). My head is crammed and cramped with thoughts, memories, fragments of sentences, disjointed observations, and all the clutter generated by a brain that doesn’t sleep. But no music. My drums are gathering dust. CD’s lie about idly. I can think of no song that fits my mood. I have no interest in the music that comforted me when I was grieving for loves who had passed away. Songs of the lovelorn and weary do not seem to resonate. I have absolutely no interest in rhythms of any sort. All is silence.
The silence scares me. I’ve never experienced a quiet such as this. What does it mean? Has my soul lost its song? Could I have truly displaced or shattered some essential part of me? Or could it be that the soundtrack is still playing? Could it be that our protagonist has experienced an existential crisis (with music swelling and multiplying in intensity)…has he suffered a death in life? Could it be that the soundtrack has stilled to quiet only to rise again to mark the denouement
of his life story? I don’t know. I do not know what the silence means.
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