We drove home from Nutter’s Ice Cream in an unforgettable evening light. Daughter exclaimed at the frozen explosion in the west, issuing a red-pink brilliance so thick it seemed like the sun had literally rested on that corner of Jefferson County. I looked at it and the lush, midsummer fields it lit and decided humanity was very rich in visual beauty. Almost all over the inhabited world, something called a sunset happens every day. Just its light, along with that of its sister sunrise, has a good chance of stunning any onlooker even in the plainest landscape.
Beautiful sights are replete in wild nature. Beautiful taste and smell are harvested in its vegetation. You could even say beautiful touch can be found in a clear swimming hole, a bed of moss, or the cool of the shade.
When my mind turned to beautiful sound, however, something new came upon the scene, and I smiled at the picture. People. The wood thrush and nightingale call out only fleeting clues to glorious sound. Because what would such sound be other than music? And you can’t have music without Man.
“Silence is the perfectest herald of joy,” said the English poet, but the very first poet disagreed. He saw wild nature and its wonderful creatures and still felt something was missing. Then he saw one like himself for the first time, Woman, and burst into verse, the first quoted man-made sounds in Scripture (Gen. 2:23). I don’t know how tuneful this first instance of poetry was, but I think it is accepted as closely related to song.
To this day music continues to be inspired and originated by people. We figured out long ago, of course, how to extract pitches and rhythms from elements of the earth, but we only need a multiplicity of human voices to get melodies, rhythms, and the full range of harmonic depth.
On this earth, to find music, we must find Man. I wonder if that must be closely related to the fact that to find song, we must find the Word.
Thank you to artist Maneli Jamal for including "Virginius Island" in your playlist.
And thank you, Riccardo Pietri, for doing the same!