Yesterday I saw my first Siskin. I watched it, trying very hard to stay still when what I wanted to do was leap for joy, for this little beautiful tiny creature heralds Spring. It also felt a bit weird, as I reflected on that happy moment, that I am welcoming Spring so soon after leaving Summer. Usually it’s a loooooong wait and a chilly dark one, but not for me this year. In fact, this last year, I have enjoyed two summers and both were warm and brilliantly coloured up. I can still hear the bird song from the most recent African summer chorus, as I note the change in the Robin song over here. It feels odd to have missed that moment too, that single morning when birdsong moves from wintry to springy. It’s quite a different tune and one I love to hear, long to hear through the cold darkling days. It happened without me, this time.
What also happened without me was Christmas, and, in particular, carols. I love sacred singing and can listen to it all day long. I love carols too, for they sing of new birth, of hope, of all the good things in life, the things that cost nothing at all and that feed a soul like no bargain deal from Toys ‘r’ us could ever do. And I missed them all. All I heard was a boogied up version of Jingle Bells, once, in a supermarket. Now that I am back, I am feasting my ears (and soul) on Karl Jenkins or Kings College Choir, just so I get my annual fix, Enya too, her album on Winter. Music is for me the food of life, after all. Music will lift my mood in just a few bars. Classical, old school (Mantovani, Nat King Cole, Sinatra) contemporary, blues, bop (or whatever it’s called) and sacred, depending on what mood needs lifting. I could be feeling very Poorlittleme until the music starts. In a matter of minutes Poorlittleme has left the building as I fall into the colours of each cadence, each phrase, the power of the base line, the eye-watering beauty of a violin in the right hands. I might ‘really’ hear a well written phrase sung by a velvet voice and think….yes, that’s it, that’s the truth, that’s just perfect.
Even when I do actually leave the building, for a walk or a visit to the shop, the music still plays in my head. I can’t seem to turn it off, nor do I want to. I can hear any tune I want, plus all the orchestration. I can lose myself in it whenever the world around me grows too loud and nobody would ever know why I am smiling. Learning to harness the power of such a gift, in other words the ability to live inside my head whilst appearing completely engaged with the outside of it, is something so very precious. I remember my mum saying that music was just noise to her. Not always, not when she was about to be sailed on to the dance floor by a handsome man, but just in ordinary times. She would rather have listened to the Archers. Me……I find voices just noise. Not always, not when a voice is saying something I want to hear, but just when ordinary babble and squawk insists itself into my ear.
Recognising something that is important to a life and taking action to develop that thing is a two-fold task. If music is of such great value to me, if it lifts my mood and fills my soul and my heart, then I have a duty of care towards it. I must work at making it a priority in my life, no matter what troubles rock and roll around me. If I let it fall away, I am the fool. This passion was wired into my particles at birth, perhaps inside the womb and it begs attention, my attention. Surely nobody could let something so important just fade because of the babble and squawk? Well, yes, actually, that bit is easy. We all do it. But at our peril. Because we are all different, and some more different than most, we often find it hard to make ourselves important enough to warrant mindful attention. We leap into whatever those around us love to do, or look like they love to do, and we do it too, trying very hard to love doing it, even if we hate it. We think that is giving as we were taught to give. We are, in truth, caught between black and white, when there are a thousand greys in between. And in that catch we put ourselves to one side. And what happened then is that we live our lives for others, exclusively.
So, I say, find your own passion and, then, develop it, somewhere among those glorious greys.