One night, laying in bed, my wife and I looked out through the frame of our window to a purple moon resting on a canopy of opaque clouds. Perhaps the clouds were purple and the moon was opaque. I am color blind and it was my wife who ‘chose the colors’….. but it was a special moment…. and though we live in a city that never sleeps…. it seemed to us that the world had stopped…. and our crazy life was still…. and quiet….. and maybe we were in neverland (and I mean the original neverland!)…… in a place where all our dreams could come true.
The next morning I tried to recreate that moment in a piece of music. As I sat down to write, I realized that what I wanted to convey was the sense of peace in the midst of trouble. In a strange way the purple moon on clouds made me feel that I wasn’t alone and that everything would be okay.
In Field of Dreams,Terrence Mann says to Ray Kinsella…….
“They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.”
I am fortunate enough to travel and play in Europe several times a year. Usually, after 4 or 5 months of working in a LA all I can think about is strolling through the forests of Switzerland and France (oh and savoring the wine and cheese of course). It is amazing the effect that genuine quietness has on our minds, our bodies and our souls. It is like drinking cool fresh water from a mountain stream.
Living and working in LA can be a lot of fun but it’s definitely life in the fast lane…… and even formula 1 race cars have to make pit stops occasionally.
I know this reads as self indulgent, but there is a peace that I find (sometimes) in my own music. When it’s all too much….. and I am drowning under all the expectations….mine and others …… I can crawl into my room (metaphorically), pick up an old guitar, sit still and strum gently to myself…… If I hum along…… quite naturally a string of jumbled words form on my tongue and I sing them over my life. I don’t know how many times I have sung a prayer calling out for peace to fall…”like tears from the sky”.
Learning to be still is hard work….. often with the natural chaos of home life I am forced to seek refuge in the garage of all places …… but even amongst the clutter and dust….. surrounded by things waiting to be thrown away or packed again only to be unpacked and discarded into the ‘next’ garage….. yes even in this environment I find an old chair on which to sit and there I sing and make gentle music….. searching for that quietness…. that peace that belies my own understanding.
Ironically the morning I chose to ‘sketch’ this music to tape, a building across the road was being demolished. Jack hammers, trucks rumbling down the street, mariachi music blasting its way through tinny transistor radios…. the stage was set for me to record!
Perhaps it is apropos that while buildings were tumbling down around me I could still find a way of expressing some of this peace. It is peace in the storm that we generally need, for it’s in the storm that we spend much of our lives.