a few weekends ago my family and i were debating if we had to lose a sense, which would we sacrifice? hearing or sight? i think at the time i said hearing… i figured, i’m already losing it as it is. but the more i thought about it, i knew i had bluffed. music is rooted somehow in my soul. losing my hearing would be beyond tragic — although, i did find some solace (((in this hypothetical reality of being deaf))) in the fact that if i were to lose my hearing, i had at least been blessed with 30+ years of hearingfulness.*
we were raised eating, breathing and living music. surrounded by instruments and immersed in variety. my dad would rewind a tape and make us focus on the horns, or the lead guitar or the flutes… my dad even played a game with whatever new song we were in to at the time. he would walk over to his guitar, sit down, and play what song that new song was ripping off — the blinders were lifted.
the limits to our exploration were so vast we could constantly discover new sounds & new artists. we turned a blind eye to the genre of origin — and more often than not our musical preferences shocked those much older than us. while visiting here in seattle my 18 year sister requested “papa was a rollin’ stone” of the street performers at pike place market… sadly that was not in their repertoire but they respected a girl so young for loving a song so old. i remember laughing when my dad would wear his john coltrane t-shirt. passerbys would yell either “right on malcom x!” or something about having a dream…
my siblings have inherited my dad’s ability to seamlessly compose melodies. whatever instrument they touch, beauty emerges. i, need to awaken my instruments that lay idle, but i don’t. instead, i match lyrics to any situation and i dance to music in my head. in high school, my parents would often walk in on our choreography sessions. since college we have exchanged music and i take credit for hooking my siblings on cake.
back when Vh1 was in its infancy it actually showed music videos. i remember enya’s “orinoco flow” was the first music video i witnessed. my neighbor friends and i would try to recreate janet jackson’s “rhythm nation” in the driveway.
fast forward almost 20 years.
i returned home this past month for two unexpected visits less than two weeks apart. my 14 year old sister was quick to demand radio dj rights while we were in the car. my dad did not fall in line as she would have liked. but during one car ride, he relented… turning the volume up. it was natasha bedingfield’s pocket full of sunshine. rachel belted out the chorus drowning out the radio.
that moment has made me smile repeatedly… there was something about how she embraced that song much like non-singers approach singing in the shower. in that instant she represented everything young and beautiful to me. she exuded a tenderness, innocence and joy that warms me.
yes, i would hear forever even if it meant my eyes clouded over. but even if my ears failed me, that moment and many like it will be fixed in my memory, forever.
*this week i was in a workshop where i learned all about mindfulness. i figured the term could be used cross-sensually.