There's something no one knows about me, not even the resident musician of Tracy Island. It's something I do when I'm stressing out, or just when I need to lose myself enough to be able to think. Or, to put thoughts at bay long enough to unwind and let the problem at hand work itself out.
Promise you won't tell? Okay. Well, here it is, then: I listen to love songs. In foreign languages.
There's something about the beauty of whichever the language, usually French or Italian...about the cadence of the words against the notes. Something that allows me to go wherever my mind needs to. Songs like Per Te, or Caruso. Songs that have been around forever, sung by so many different vocalists. L'Hymne à l'amour, or Ne Me quitte pas.
I'm not sure I could really explain it if I tried, what happens to me on Thunderbird 5 or in the privacy of the observatory or my suite, when I can blast this music while no one else is around. I think it might be similar to what happens to Virgil when he plays the piano or listens to opera. Scott hates opera. Alan and Gordo do, too. Truthfully, I'm not keen on it myself, even if it is sung in Italian, but I get what Virgil feels.
Those first notes hit, and there's something about knowing the next words I hear will be in a language other than my own native tongue. Then the lyrics begin and my eyes close. My head leans back and I let the words and the music wash over me. Melody, harmony. The meaning of the words. The way the music punctuates those words.
I know so many different languages, and I've listened to this type of music in at least twenty of them. I have my favorites now, that I play over and over again. And yet each song never fails to excite me. To move me. It's hard to explain in words, something you can only feel. But the best way is probably to try what Virgil does, and paint you a picture to help you understand.
Imagine that you're standing in garden. It's a private place. You're completely alone. It's early Spring, right when the last of Winter is melting away. The first thing you become aware of is the water dripping around you as final patches of snow disappear. And against that backdrop, birds return to see how their old nests fared during the long, cold spell.
You close your eyes, water and birdsong blending together as though they were written specifically on the page to do so. There's a rustle and you open your eyes to find time speeding forward just fast enough for tiny green buds on bare tree branches to begin opening and revealing their bright new-leaf color to you.
Surrounding you in all directions, spears poke out of the soil, stretching themselves toward the warming sun. Before your eyes, they form buds that unfurl into daffodils, tulips, crocuses, hyacinths. The leaves on the trees continue growing and then more buds appear among them and small white flowers open. The punctuation to all you see and hear in this garden is the mingling scent of all the blossoms gently wafting to you.
You close your eyes again, breathe in deeply, and smell the grass grow beneath your feet. Roses form new stems and unleash the beauty of their flowers, adding to the fragrance. A gentle rain falls and as the sound of it fills your ears, the garden goes still. The air is purified, the ground and plants surrounding you, cleansed.
This time, when you open your eyes as the rain slowly ebbs and the sun begins peeking out again, you feel renewed, just like the garden you're standing in. Pure. Cleansed. Refreshed. Ready to leave a place of pure peace, and return to whatever it was you were doing before you came to this private place.
That is what this music does for me. That's how it makes me feel. I'm not sure why, and I guess I've learned not to question it anymore, because it works. And so it will remain my secret...imagine the ribbing I'd get from my brothers if they found out.
But they never will. And they'll never get how I can disappear for thirty minutes and come back ready to tackle something that had me so angry I was ready to lay into the first of them that looked at me wrong. It's our secret, yours and mine. I hope you'll keep it for me. And maybe even try it yourself.
You never know. It might work for you, too.