It’s Sunday – even here in Las Vegas. We are currently enjoying a much needed break from the sweltering heat that made its way here and across much of the country. We’ve even had two days of substantial rain and last night I stood in the dog park with Gracie and enjoyed the coolness as the droplets soaked me through and through. (I think Gracie was less impressed with this than I was).
So even though the casinos are saying farewell to their weekend visitors, many of whom said farewell to their stash of cash while they stayed here, it is important to me to try to keep things in perspective and try to set aside some time away from that which is worldly and direct myself toward higher things.
On Sundays. as part of that discipline, I try to do some contemplative thinking. That may take the form of reading or it may incorporate listening to music or a combination of both. But this was a busy Sunday. I had a few grocery items I needed to purchase for the dinner I was making and a car battery to replace. Car batteries in the desert have about the same life expectancies as fruit flies.
So as I was coming home with a new battery installed and my groceries on the passenger seat, I had rolled down the windows as it was still in the mid-80’s and there was a nice breeze blowing. As I waited for the light to change, a man pulled up next to me in a large, new SUV which obviously had a very high-powered radio installed. He was playing rap music and I’m sure that the volume was sufficient that it could have been heard in our state capital, Carson City nearly 450 miles away..
One of the things you learn when you live in Las Vegas is that we have some of the longest street lights in the world. When I first moved here I wondered whether some of them at which I had been stopped ever changed. I now know better. They do change eventually – but in this case the wait seemed interminable.
I thought about rolling up the windows – but I thought that would have been as rude as the driver’s behavior in subjecting me to this “music”. So I waited somewhat impatiently for the magic green disk to appear on the signal. It finally did, but not before I had heard more than my fair share of M*ther F*cker and B*tch.
I realize that my classical music traditions would seem as strange to the driver of this car as his music does to me. Well, there’s no accounting for taste – or lack of it. But since music has been such an important influence in my life I can’t help but feel that the kind we choose to hear has a significant impact on how we see the world and how we treat each other. Or perhaps the way that we view ourselves and the world determines our choice in music.
Somehow I don’t see a person who listens to music which through denigration and vulgarity demeans others as a person who is likely to be one of those “touchy-feely” types. I could be wrong. But I believe that we are what we eat – and that is true of the food we consume, the literature we read and the music to which we listen.
I do know that for me music is a refuge. It brings out the best in me and comforts me when I am troubled. And this being Sunday, I thought I would share the hymn which I played when I came home from my excursion. It is of American origin, probably dating from the mid-19th century and was composed by one of those best know authors, Anonymous.
I played it several times just to unwind from the traffic light episode. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have over many years.