Leukemia, bees, and music

May 23, 2007

bees.jpg

Some days it seems–no matter where I turn–I see pain. Not because I’m looking for it, but it seems to build up like a static charge that needs to be grounded, like a possession that needs to be exorcised.

Yesterday I seemed to see more of it than I have in quite a while. One student is terrified that if he doesn’t pass my class, his entire life and goals will be for naught. Another is terrified of an operation she has to have tomorrow. I heard from a colleague about another’s desperate actions so that people will like him. Another student is excited but nervous about going away to grad school: I offer big brotherly advice.

I will be working on a new film whose main characters are autistic. The director told me some shocking figures: in 1990, 1 in 100,000 children were autistic. Last year, 1 in 106 boys were autistic, and 1 in 160 girls are. What is going on?? And at the end of the day, one of our dear friends found out that her mother has developed a very virulent form of leukemia, and it is looking more and more like this is the end for her. Very sad. To finish the day, she told me “all the bees are dying.” You wouldn’t know from the thousands of bees all over the flowers outside my window, but if it’s true, I mourn mankind’s technological obliviousness.

Despite my altruistic compulsion to join Al Gore’s drive to save the planet, I realize and remember music’s power: to give us inner strength, to offer a background where we can sing through our tears and over the rage, to calm whatever volcanoes are bubbling up in our inner selves. How does this happen? I have no idea, but I’m happy to accept the mystery of what music is and what music does. Music can be like a multi-vitamin: something that is good for us in a variety of ways, there are different components that sooth us, or excite us, or strengthen us or heal us.

So after a day like I had yesterday, I need to sing to exorcise the emotional static that has built up in my body and spirit. I am fortunate to have such an outlet. I think I’ll go sing for the bees.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Daniel Wolf May 23, 2007 at 6:43 am

Roger —

I’ve blogged too much about the bees myself, but you should get yourself into Book IV of Virgil’s Georgics; it’s all about beekeeping (as well as Orpheus, which I’m setting now, and everything else).

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