Whether it’s a day hike in the Willamette National Forest, a two-week vacation in the Scottish Highlands, or a month-long trek through the Australian Outback, one is bound to take notice of the quality of sights, sounds, tastes, tactility, and scents along the journey. A farmer’s morning market on a spring day; the hands shaping a sand castle on the beach; a decent pour of Guinness at the neighborhood pub; the well-tempered strokes of a steam engine on a flat stretch of railroad; or the blue planet spied from a port window on the International Space Station presents the senses with a cornucopia of accentuated stimuli, inviting the mind and heart to respond by attaching emotion to context.
I’m nine months into my musical journey, but I haven’t left town. However, I do feel like I’ve been to places, places that may be categorized as different states of mind or metaphysical in nature instead of actual physical locales. If a lens is to a camera as a brush is to a blank canvas, then my view of the world is seen through music. Music to me encapsulates the tribulations and ecstasy of humanity in patterns of rhythm, harmony, and melodic tones for an auditory experience that’s capable of manipulating emotion and invoking latent memories lodged in dark corners of the mind. The light I seek is not to be seen at the end of the tunnel. The wisdom I accumulate along my musical journey is not acquired by spontaneous epiphanies. Likewise, my lingering doubts of humanity’s evolution is invariably debunked when strangers extend offers of unconditional help during times of chaos and tragedy. However, that restored faith in humanity’s plight is a short-lived experience that is soon forgotten as strangers return to their respective worlds and life goes on as if nothing had happened at all.
Perhaps there is no enlightenment to begotten and life as we know it is a cosmic ant farm, where entities beyond our comfort zone amuse themselves by manipulating humanity like a computer simulation. It ultimately doesn’t matter: if we feel hate and love, things must therefore be real. As long as we’re here and we feel that we’re in the here and now, we should make the best use of the present situation. To do nothing but speculate what is and what is not is to acknowledge that some cosmic game is afoot and we’re the pieces on the board. Cosmic game or not, at the end of the day we must confront the realities of putting food in our bellies and covering our heads and those of our loved ones with a roof.