Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: He was the best dog on the planet.

Bonding

Bonding
The author of Mark's Work with Ellie Mae

Guess who's coming for dinner

Guess who's coming for dinner
Blue heron, sitting on the dock of our pond

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

BFF's forever

BFF's forever
Margie and Ellie Mae

Tomatoes and peppers are us.

Tomatoes and peppers are us.
Spicy salsa with roasted peppers, here at HappyDay Farms

Much love, John-Bryan

Much love, John-Bryan
Eric at 26 on the left, and John-Bryan in January of 1973.

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
SmallBoy and Dancing Girl

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dancing Ears

Dancing Ears

Attempting to convey the senses through words poses the biggest challenge for me as a writer. I can describe in minute detail the wild iris I photographed yesterday over at the coast, its purple hues meshing and flowing together in an iridescent stream of undulating loveliness, but I can never bring to the mind anything remotely paralleling the actual photo.

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I can reflect back to the aromas wafting through the air, as Annie roasts a tray of fresh, organic vegetables, just harvested from the farm and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar in preparation for a gluten-free  pizza. The fragrance of the just-sauteed onions and garlic mingles with that of the thickened tomato sauce, gently bubbling on the stove.

The scent of oregano from the brilliant red sauce is readily apparent, battling for control of your nostrils with that of the basil, picked at the last minute from the bed right outside the back door. I take one last bodacious sniff of the cork from the bottle of merlot we selected to accompany our feast. Its bouquet brings memories to my mind, of other bottles of merlot and the happy circumstances surrounding its consumption.

All of this I can do but it will never live up to one tantalizing bite from the pizza pie that is so hot, you must be cautious not to burn the roof of your mouth. The tangy mozzarella cheese transports me right back to Pompeii Pizza in La Puente, with Augie buying the crew from Sunrise Market lunch.

And please, don't get me started on the Holidays, with all of the pent-up emotion that steaming pumpkin pie, fresh out of the wood-stove, drums up.
Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving...with
whipped cream

So if I can’t come close when it comes to vision and taste, how am I ever going to accomplish any semblance of what I’d like, when it comes to music? 

Music evokes emotion and passion in me. I never looked at an exquisite flower, and broke down crying, nor have I ever savored something fresh from the oven, and felt tears streaming down my face in thanks. It does not work that way for me.

No, what activates the tears spigot full blast for me is music. I wrote last summer about being at Reggae on the River and experiencing that overwhelming welling up of emotion, when Stick Figure broke into “Rocky Road,” or later in weekend when Stephen Marley played, “No Cigarette Smoking in My Room.” Anyone who may have noticed my tears, kept it to himself.

What’s ironic to me about my ears being my most intense sense, is that in day-to-day functioning, they provide my greatest challenge, in that I do not process information well when it comes to me verbally. It is a symptom of bipolarism that resonates with me.

It explains why I struggled all the way through high school with math and science, because so much of the direction, is given orally. I was always trying to catch up with everyone else, because in order to access information, I had to see it on paper or on the chalkboard. 

It was only when I started to teach that I discovered this connection between the learning modalities and my own limitations, but it also helped me to provide a more balanced learning environment.

I made sure that all students could hear what was being discussed and that they could see it either on the overhead projector, or by some other means. I also ensured that they could do something with their hands to help bind the knowledge together more efficiently with that of sight and sound, to be velcroed to the inside of their craniums, metaphorically speaking.

You may have noticed that others respond to music with emotion also. How about when “Auld Lang Syne” comes on and you start thinking of those who are no longer here to sing along with it?

How about when that love song comes on that ties you to a broken relationship, and it doesn’t matter who is in the room when you bust out? Or when that special song comes on that used to make your mom start dancing with anyone who happened to be present?

I was present in Windsor, two Marches ago, when Laura and Isabel came over from Redding to perform live Celtic music for everyone who dwelt in the same group-home as Pauline, on St. Patrick's Day. Doug faithfully and efficiently wrestled the equipment into place, and the music began, transforming the room filled to capacity with revelers, into a venue fit for queens and kings. 

The list is endless; what invades the psyche through the ears is most likely to bring emotion with it. The cry of a newborn, when its mother is within earshot? Her breasts will start to leak milk as if they have minds of their own.

God Bless America, favorite childhood Christmas hymns sung around the piano with immediate family, or even something silly like the theme song from “Sesame Street,” long after your kids have moved on to hip-hop, will elicit emotion.

Sound can also grate on my ears and irritate me to distraction. The hens creating a cacophony of racket, is made worse when the rooster is leading the charge. The repetitive, discordant notes would be unbearable, if it weren’t for the fact that I invested two hundred dollars in a set of quality headphones.

For two hundred bones you can buy a lot of insulation from the peanut gallery.

Music provides a motivation for me to go to work, especially if it is outside, and I am doing physical labor. It is as though I have a mental pitch fork, gently prodding me to greater heights. I respond accordingly, preferring the prod to come via my ears, rather than my rear.

My current rage(s) is techno, or maybe reggae, contemporary adult,  indie, pop, hip-hop, folk, or whatever music is blowing air up my skirt at any given time.

Prior to meeting and being swooped away by Pandora, the most seductive of all music sources, I was a lost soul. I tried buying an old-fashioned CD player, but it was so fragile that I found it impractical to both farm, and listen to the jumpy quality that was produced.

I practically wrecked Terra Jean, my old computer, by perching her up on a stepladder so as to access I-Tunes. Watching in horror, I also remember seeing her tumble in slo-mo, head over sandaled heels, mousepad-first down on a basketball-sized chunk of rock, never to be the same again.

Weird, I know.

In this case it was not music that brought on the flood of tears.

In prepping the terraces for HappyDay Farms these past two months, I have relied predominantly on my music to motivate me. I need it especially when I first get out there in the early morning hours, and the temperature is hovering around thirty-six with a twenty-seven-mile-per-hour, Arctic wind.  

The music does not warm my feet, so much as the cockles of my heart. I bob, I weave, I zig and I zag and as long as I remain focused on the need for the pitchfork and my left foot to continue avoiding a clandestine tryst, there just beneath the surface of the rich soil, I am good to dance.

So far, so good.

Music belongs in the schools because like the food of life, it is fuel for the soul. A soul without music would be like the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, without flowers. Music lends passion to an ordinary day, for no other reason than the ears like to dance too. And if your ears decide to dance, you’d better go along with the program. 

After all, you’d look pretty goofy if your ears danced off without you.

The URL to Rocky Road:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJsp9I4q7oE 








8 comments:

  1. Okay, first thing is all that talk of food when I haven't even had breakfast is making me toooo hungry! How about the sage dressing on the turkey that Papa used to make or the BBQ sauce he made? Hungry!
    As for music, you nailed it on how it can evoke emotion, here is an interesting article that speaks to that very topic: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/04/14/wendy-lesser-room-for-doubt-music-grief/
    I love Pandora too but I don't love techno or anything too sharp....

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    1. Everyone dances to the tune he or she wants to hear... I have customized my pandora station(s) so that it is an eclectic mix of reggae, folk, and techno. I LOVE it!

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  2. Yes, Mark, I agree. Music accompanies me throughout my run in the mornings, my work day, and as I practice diligently every day on my cello or flute or guitar or piano... I could not even imagine a world without music!

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    1. Dang. I forgot to zero in on live music, such as that we heard when we when to Pauline's that time in Windsor. Look for an edit...soon.

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    3. Or the music you hear at Reggae on the River?

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