With the frightening turmoil on land occupying my thought, the night sky seems a peaceful refuge, and Whitman’s WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER comes to mind:
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Whitman approved of song — hence the title of his greatest work: I don’t think he would have turned away from the melodies I present here, delicious treasures from a vanished — but sweetly remembered — time and place. And the poem speaks of savoring experience deeply, which is what the musicians we love both accomplish and share with us.
Here are two lovely musical vignettes from Sunday morning at Jazz at Chautauqua. The first, Petra van Nuis and Andy Brown, dear friends, musing through the Burke-Van Heusen MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU:
Then, Dan Block, tenor saxophone; Chuck Wilson, so deeply missed, alto saxophone; Keith Ingham, piano; Arnie Kinsella, drums; Vince Giordano, looking up at the meteor shower that gave birth to STARS FELL ON ALABAMA:
Tonight, immerse yourself in the night sky if you can. Such vistas heal.
May your happiness increase!