During odd days when I find it difficult to stay on an even keel, I turn to music for stability. Many things - people, information, emotions - disrupt the balance of daily life. Sometimes, even knowing new things can shift the weight, and destroy the equilibrium (whether permanent or temporary, it is a an entirely different matter). Often, we find ourselves sucked in the noise of the world, the senseless blabbering of the people surrounding us, the frustrating traffic of the city. Music has been a source of peace for me, gently collecting my parts that had been scattered by the wind of chaos, and realigning my thoughts with the rest of my being.
I always enjoy listening to music whether it be a symphony by Dvorak, a slow R&B jam that tickles the spine, a frenzied house track, a punk song with killers riffs, or even a simple, ambient track playing in commercial establishments. I’ve always seen myself as fortunate, because I grew up in a household where listening to music was not only supported and encouraged, but was used as a way to bond and strengthen familial ties.
There is always a song or a composition which I turn to in order to pull myself together. I find it amazing how certain melodies, lyrics, and sonic fluctuations can take me back to safe places. I always called it my “musical escapism”. A classical prelude would often remind me of those gloomy October nights when my father prepared a hearty, beef stew for dinner. A particular electro-dance track would take me back to my high school days, and how my friends and I used to “strut” along the hallways during lunch. Jazz standards bring me to warm, summer evenings spent in our ancestral home in the province, when I would stay in the balcony, in awe of the stars populating the sky (stargazing in the city is simply no match).
Today, I am listening to Flower Duet from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé. It reminds me of a time when I floated in sublime air - a rarefied sheet of atmosphere - where the sensation of breathing was felt, and not just allowed and controlled by bodily signals. It also reminds me of the married man I flirted with a few years back: our near-affairs and close-encounter with infidelities; my almost one-sided desire, and our missed opportunities; the things said and done in the little, private scale of things I strain to remember now. Recalling it while listening to the duet, I can’t help but feel I am my old self again: not only have I found balance, but I’ve also claimed my youthful vigor, my innocent curiosity, and my sweet despair once more.
Sous le dôme épais où le blanc jasmin
A la rose s’assemble
Sur la rive en fleurs riant au matin
Viens, descendons ensemble