Friday, June 5, 2009

More Rain in Virginia

We're essentially underwater here in Burke on another rain rain and more rain day. It's a beautiful rain, though, and a beautiful morning. One of those fully saturated, completely green, somewhat dark, but somehow not gray mornings. Would I take it over sunshine and crystal air on a late October afternoon? No, but I sure ain't going to get mopey over it either.

A student claimed a few days ago that Charles Mingus' "Better Git it in Your Soul" is fundamentally life-affirming, fundamentally joyful. And he's right, of course. I replied that I couldn't imagine hearing that song and not feeling good, that, in some way, if an individual hears that song and does like it, well, then that individual probably doesn't actually like music. And it reminded me of a conversation from, like, 18 years ago, and my attempt to express that, no matter how straightup ugly the world might be at times, and no matter how theoretically bleak any particular aspect of the future might look, and no matter how frighteningly empty the prospect of Old Mister Fucking Death He Self might be, I couldn't imagine getting too, you know, like, depressed about it because Bob Dylan existed, because 100 Years of Solitude existed, because Astral Weeks existed, because A Love Supreme existed. Maybe it's a copout, to let art, even challenging art, be a consolation, but I suspect that's only the case if you make art nothing but a mask for pain, or a distraction from hurt.

Plus, there are rivers, mountains, and trees. And the sound that water makes running over rocks. And the end of "When Doves Cry." And Terence Malick's Days of Heaven.

In any case, if you don't have a copy of the Mingus track with you at the moment, get yourself a quick fix via the Interwebs. And if the "Oh yeah!" just before the one minute mark doesn't raise at least a small smile, and if the fundamental drive of the song doesn't at least make you want to get up and move just a tiny bit, then, um, rewind and try again.

("Rewind" just threw me, all adolescent-y into my family's 1987 Chevrolet Nova. For a few seconds, I could sense, exactly, with the first two fingers of my right hand, how it felt to push the rewind and fast-forward buttons simultaneously in order to activate the tape deck's auto-reverse function and flip to the other side of the cassette. And how it felt to root around one-handed on the floor of the car for a tape that had slipped down behind the passenger seat, trying to keep an eye on the road, a foot near the clutch, and another foot in relatively constant pressure on the gas pedal).

Sidenote: OMFD He Self is via Pynchon.

Sidenote: In a 1916 letter, Wallace Stevens wrote, "Unfortunately there is nothing more inane than an Easter carol. It is a religious perversion of the activity of Spring in our blood."

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