Lately, I have been considering the names of the places where I have been; have lived; have received inspiration, whether through life-changing events that occurred there or through being touched by the intrinsic beauty of the place. I have been delving in to archives trying to find the original names and the meanings of the names for these places that have been so special to me.
Kyle and I were talking about the “songs” of those places: the rhythm of our lives there, the lyrics of the activity that surrounded us, and especially the music of the natural surroundings. We talked about the songs of the places, and of time. When Kyle was much younger, he and I lived in the Napa Valley. We had a tradition of having brunch at the Yountville Diner on Sunday mornings and then taking a long walk along the Napa River. For part of the time that we spent meandering along the water, we would separate a little way away from each other, find a comfortable place to sit, and listen. We would sit for ten to fifteen minutes, making notes in our pocket notebooks of any particular inspiration or sound that we heard. And then, we would sit together and share with each other what we were inspired to share. As I remembered how we talked about what the energies of each particular place in that particular time had inspired in us, I became aware of how our talking, our spoken music, our songs of the moment, were relayed back into that spot and became a part of it.
It’s another way of looking at the emotion behind the poem that inspired this series of writings. In “The Thread That Weaves”, I refer to “knots named by places” and ask the reader to “listen…listen and hear the heartbeat sound”. But it isn’t merely the heartbeat sound, one’s own rhythm, which needs to be listened to. The cadence of the place itself has its own music and its own lyric.
My comments on the songs of the places brought Kyle to talk of music, and how, even though the instruments upon which we hear music played now are of more modern manufacture, they carry with them the inspiration of the music makers from times long gone. The music itself can come from hundreds of years ago. And yet, as we hear it today with our modern ears we can still be as inspired as those who heard it first may have been, and in some fashion we carry that inspiration forward.
Is that what familiarity with a place is? The memory of one’s own song being sung back to them by the place itself?