Thursday, September 19, 2013

All My Trials

I haven't written anything here since April. Not that there hasn't been plenty going on. Just lots of negative, depressing stuff that nobody wants to read about.

But today, something very small happened at work that transported me back about 35 years to an event that had me walking on air for days. That small event was a song that flowed from my iPod to my headphones to my memory.

Many years ago, my friend Fritz brought me to a party at a house by the beach. I didn't know anyone there. I remember Fritz telling me that he thought I'd like these people. I don't remember any of them. I don't remember anything about the house except that it was near the beach. I don't even remember what town it was. What I do remember is music. If any of you locals remember the old "Pinky" hoots in New Haven, or the current BMAD in Bethany, you'll start to develop a picture. A good sized house with live acoustic music in every room. This was my first time at a party like this.

I remember going into a room, listening for a bit, then sitting cross-legged on the floor (I could do that back then!) I sang along on the tunes I knew, hummed harmonies on the ones I didn't. Then a guy came into the room, sat on the floor across from me, almost touching knees. He sang along for a while. I don't remember how it got started, but I will never forget it. The whole room was still. It was just me and this man singing "All My Trials". I sang the melody and he added the most beautiful harmony. No sound but his voice and mine. I had never experienced anything like it. It was magical. When we finished "All My Trials", the room stayed quiet for a bit - like no-one else was there. After a minute or so, someone picked up a guitar. The spell was broken. He stayed a bit longer, sang some more, then got up and left the room. I left a couple of minutes later and looked for him. Didn't see him anywhere. I found Fritz and asked if he knew who the man was. He wasn't in the room, but he heard us singing and no - he didn't know who it was. I never did find out.


Those of you who have known me a long time, know that I love to sing. I'd rather sing that do just about anything. I started in the junior choir when I was 8 years old. I was always in the school chorus, church choir. I was in a 5-person folk group for several years and we played at the gate at the Eli Whitney Folk Festival in New Haven for three years and finally on the main stage, singing in front of several thousand people, opening for Judy Collins.

Singing is the best high I have ever experienced. But sadly, I am no longer able to sing. I won't go into why, but I hope it's temporary. Hearing Peter, Paul and Mary singing "All My Trials" this afternoon lifted me up, transported me back to a God-sent moment and gave me hope. Maybe I will sing again.