December 23, 2015

A Year’s Silence

2015 i was unusually silent. It was a big year. One year ago today (December 23) was the last time I saw my mom in fine mental fettle. It was her 78th birthday, and she was having an unexpected respite from her legion of physical ailments, and our family sat around the old wooden dining-room table and read our poems to each other, commenting on them. She and my dad pulled out a few I’d never heard before, and I was taken aback by how moving they were. She seemed unusually, even uniquely lucid, and present, and I let myself think she was improving. But in any case, it was a beautiful evening, and I think we all felt it was special at the time. A week or two later she began a downward spiral, and I was touring Europe with Blythe Gruda and Julian Maile a month after that when I had to cut the tour short and return in time for her sudden death. Ten days after that, my wife conceived, and about five weeks ago our son appeared. Somehow, since that interrupted tour and her death, my year became a sabbatical year from music. Few gigs, no releases, just a lot of mulling, meditating, faint whiffs of melodies, half-songs, ideas drifting up to the surface of consciousness, and sinking again beneath the swaying flow unsaved. Nothing seemed urgent enough to act on – nothing else needed to be born or be slain. Today on what would have been her 79th birthday I remember her and feel an inevitable re-flowering of the surfaces stirring. I want to thank the people who’ve asked me for the next music, those who have encouraged me to continue, and those who have encouraged me to take my time. I hope in the coming year to meet you other players and listeners again on a stage or two or in an earbud. I think she would have preferred that to happen. I’m also sure she wouldn’t want it to happen for any other reason than that it felt right. Duty to her inner muse was her first principle in life.

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