The Music of John Williams

I struggle enormously with the fact that children a generation from now may not find the films of my youth relevant any longer. I dread the day that I show a child Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic park or E.T. and watch boredom descend upon them in the viewing. However, I have come to realize that though the images themselves may fail to capture a future child’s mind, there is one common aspect that is attributed to each of the film’s mentioned that will always remain timeless and continually be capable to capture the mind’s of youth and adults alike; the music.

A week ago, my wife and I had the extreme pleasure of sitting in the Gallery of the Devos Performance hall to watch the Grand Rapids Symphony perform the music of John Williams. To say that the music was performed faithfully, wonderfully, and enthusiastically does little to capture the achievement of the performance, but I will elaborate by saying that each time my eyes closed I again became the ten year old kid that simultaneously ached for and feared adventure. Magic exists, and it’s spell is cast by each note played by the wonderful Symphony in this wonderful city.

I will not spoil the show for those who plan to see it in the future, but I will say that both lifelong fans of Williams’ work, or those who could simply use some magic in their lives, will undoubtedly leave the performance feeling like they can fly.

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An Allegory of Opportunity

Beginning a new work-place adventure after 6 years in one place can be a terrifying and marvelous prospect. I immediately waxed poetic on the feeling. Below are my thoughts.

The ship I stand upon is opportunity.

The spray of this unknown sea promises thrill, torment, magic and malice alike.

A cold wind blows, doubt. The sun breaks the clouds, hope.

Behind me is not safety, but familiarity. I think I should like to be unfamiliar.

The creaks of the decking whisper the responsibility of adventure and the horizon is mystery incarnate.

Too long has fear kept me moored where it may have hauled an anchor.

Now the sea she calls, and I will answer.

I trust to three things; my hands, love, and a lust for adventure to spurn me on.

Fare well, the setting sun I knew so long – I’d see you rise for me now.

Haul anchor!

*It’s important to note that I have an immense fascination with maritime exploration, hence the obvious and much used metaphor of ship and sea.

The Spirit And The Sprite, An Original Story For The Fall

As a child, I was captivated by those who could tell intriguing tales. Huddled around campfires, gathered around hearths, under blanket forts lit with a flashlight; these are the places that my imagination sprang to life. I have aspired to tell the sorts of tales that I was told while growing up. I hope you enjoy this tale of why the leaves fall each year.

Experience Lust

799px-Kon-Tiki

“Watch Kon-tiki” John said early last month. A day’s doings drove the idea from my mind.

“Doug, you have got to watch Kon-Tiki!” his more recent assertion fired the “must-do” section of my brain and drove me home to do exactly that.

The film is a wonderfully realized narrative that depicts the events of a post WW2 fact finding expedition helmed by a man named Thor Heyerdahl. You might be thinking, “Oooh this sounds interesting, I think I’ll cap off the night by parking a ruler next to a blade of grass and charting its progress”. Allow me to describe it once more, and this time I’ll put some stank on it. Thor, and his team of willing (mad) accomplices built a raft, a vessel devoid of any means of steerage or propulsion, with the express purpose of DRIFTING in the open ocean from the coast of South Africa to, they hoped, the Polynesian islands. Six men would reside on a raft no more than 9 Balsa wood logs in length for 101 days while battling unhospitable seas, wavering morale, vessel degradation, visits from the creature of Peter Benchley’s obsession, and little to no radio contact. For emphasis, in 1948 this band of men, on a vessel created with materials that civilizations would have used hundreds of years previously (no metals or modern trappings), successfully drifted a distance of 3,770 nautical miles to reach a destination almost no one believed they could. There is only one word I know that accurately encapsulates such efforts: Adventure.

John telling me to watch that movie may very well have been him asking me to spend hours digging into the legacy of the expedition. It is as though he asked, what will you take away from the knowledge that this world has bred such heroes as this? A lust for adventure would be my answer. It is staggering to learn of the accomplishments inspired by the crew of Kon-Tiki, and I ravenously devour documentation of those that set out into the world in order to damn and bolster our perception of the earth. However, I find a most curious sensation bubbles beneath my flesh. The more I learn, the more I yearn to be away from page and screen. Each article inhabits deep recesses of my mind and it is though I can feel the spray of the sea on my skin, hear the call of a gull, and see before me a horizon that is beautiful and dreadful. Goosebumps riddle my flesh and a smirk smears itself across my lips as I defiantly slam shut the book of others accomplishments. It is time I had my own adventure.

I also have to be at work in a half hour.

Shit.

Though I walk out the door with the knowledge that there is an 8 hour obligation between myself and some grand sweeping adventure I am sure will lay itself before me, I feel alive even only confronted with possibility of tackling something alien to me. This whisper of risk addles my bones and I take a right where I would normally take a left. Another deft maneuver finds me down roads I never take in a city I live in every day. The proverbial path less trodden rewards me with the sight of a glorious magnolia tree in full bloom. Less than 5 blocks and ten minutes from my door rests a reward worth risks. I could have been late to work, but for my rambling I discovered. I wonder what fruits the next wrong turn will bear, and for this restlessness I have John to thank.

 

For those interested in learning more about the Kon-Tiki adventure, ¬†visit this address –¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kon-Tiki Continue reading