Jazz, deer and gratitude for simple things
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, January 28, 2004
Last week I wrote about the harmony in our human relationships that flows
from our mutual experience of the music that throbs deeply in our hearts.
This evoked some powerful New Orleans jazz memories from one of our newest
e-mail coffee companions.
Edmonton writer Barbara Stevens was told of our weekly "coffee
klatch" by longtime reader Winifred Schroer, who has been passing
on some of our columns to her. Barbara wrote me to say how much she enjoys
the "colorful words and descriptions coupled with compassion"
that characterize our weekly chats.
She asked if there was room for her to become a regular at our table,
and I said, sure, and she should bring along some of her own stories,
too. And she did. She wrote:
THANK YOU FOR the story which brought back memories of our trip to
New Orleans in October 2001.
We spent five of our six nights at Preservation Hall the one
night was spent listening to Pete Fountain. We have attended the Preservation
Hall concerts here in Edmonton, but there is nothing like hearing them
in the place where it all began.
Each evening, several musicians showed up at Preservation Hall. When
I spoke with one of them, I learned that they do not rehearse with each
other. For each evening, there is always the requisite number of players
who are available to play.
There was never the exact same group of musicians two nights in a
row, and yet they played as though they had practiced for hours. Each
of them knew the music, knew the rhythms, and because they were playing
from their hearts, the notes blended together.
The music tugged at my heartstrings and often I had tears in my eyes
from memories or from sensing the sadness with which the music was written.
This was an experience that will always be treasured.
This was one month after that fateful Sept. 11, and the people and
musicians needed to be joined together in a healing process through
the music that was played. Truly, this was sharing music from the heart.
Barbara M. Stevens, Edmonton
WELL, BARBARA, I know firsthand what you mean about the Preservation
Hall experience. I was in New Orleans myself some years ago, and that
soulish sound tugged at my heartstrings, too.
Another writer who has recently entered actively into our table discussions
is Angy Moessmer. Angy approached me at Cochrane Coffee Traders the other
day and invited me to join her and her husband, Horst, for lunch at their
woodland home up the Grand Valley Road northwest of town. She wanted me
to experience firsthand a different kind of music, a music that beats
to Nature's rhythm and calls us to gratitude for the simple joys of life.
I accepted and soon understood what she meant, as I watched five deer
grazing among the trees outside their dining-nook window. In a short reflective
essay entitled "Gratitude," she captured the experience:
IF WE COULD only be grateful for the little things that life grants
us, we would be much happier.
Focussing on little things allows us to stay grounded. A beautiful
piece of music, a bird singing, the wind blowing, the little spring
splashing what wonderful moments of serenity we should be grateful
Those are the things that really have meaning in life!
Not the career, the new car, the friends in high places or the new
diamond those are artificial joys without depth and meaning.
They don't allow your soul to vibrate, but instead leave you empty and
cause you to look for more and yet more. They will never give you the
satisfaction you long for.
So by learning to be grateful for the simple joys of life, we find
Angy Moessmer, Cochrane
THANK YOU, Barbara and Angy. Your words have become memorable phrases
in the song of our common humanity.
© 2004 Warren Harbeck
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