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You are in the passenger seat next to me as we leave the freeway and head west on a country lane. I am enjoying watching your reaction to the lovely scenery–the many shades of green with occasional glimpses of plum and the contrasting golden grass. In places the trees form a canopy overhead, with soft moss on all the trunks. The road sways left and right and left again as we flash through small valleys, each a tiny kingdom, with a solitary farmhouse-castle. Tiny towns with rustic Northwest names, like Drain and Elkton, with scattered paint-worn houses, and here and there the optimistically fresh-painted building. We follow the curves of the river, as it dashes through rocks on the left–slowly growing in size as we cross a sage green bridge–the depth and width now quite wide.
We pass the elk sanctuary and enter a larger town–with the surprise of enormous pink hanging flower baskets lining both sides of the forlorn Main Street. We turn left and head south. Life is, after all, a series of contrasts, and we have entered the land of the jello-bellied good ol’ boys in pickup trucks, meth-addled stringy snarly-haired men, and women who look worn out from life.
The radio grows fuzzy and we find a local oldies station–RADAR LOVE comes on and the pulsing rhythm fills the inside of the car. I look at you and grin and shimmy my shoulders to the beat.
I am not interested in small talk with you. I don’t want to talk about the weather……unless it’s the weather in your mind. Is it stormy? Mostly clear but a chance of rain? Are there stars in your sky?
“The appeal of jazz in France…is the exact equivalent of the American appreciation of Impressionism…Jazz, like Impressionism, gives dignity to comfort. Resting in an apparently artless myth of bourgeois pleasure–Gershwin & Kern melodies play the same role for the great jazz men that the outdoor cafes in Argenteuil played for Renoir and Monet….Jazz, like high impressionism, reaffirms the simple, physical basis of powerful emotion and removes it to a plane of personal expression that we recognize as art; it gives us a license to take pleasure in what really provides our pleasures…in every period, every century, there is one art form or another that is able to combine simple affirmation of physical pleasure with a quality of plaintive longing and this becomes the international art form of the time…every epoch has an art form into which all the energies and faiths and beliefs and creative unself-consciousness flows. What makes them matter is their ability not to be big but to be small meaningfully, to be little largely, to be grandly, or intensely, diminutive.”
–Adam Gopnik, Paris To The Moon