Musical Lives











Last fall, I went apple picking with a few friends of mine. We headed out late on a lazy Sunday morning and arrived at the orchards in the mountains of western Virginia around mid-day.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful place for apple orchards- an experience far different from childhood trips to the orchards in Maine.  These apple trees were way up at the top of a mountain, with an absolutely stunning view of the valley below.

We ate our way through the day, and I discovered one of my now favorite apples- the Jonagold.  By dusk we had climbed and munched to our hearts’ content. Along with many others, we watched in awe as the big orange sun went down beyond the valley below.  We clunked our way back into the car, our arms now laden with bags and bags of apples, destined for desserts, jams, and ciders. 

As we drove along the mountains on our way back home, the moon slowly started to come out and guide us along.  The air got that vague haze and mistiness that settles in after a long day of Virginian humidity.  After a day full of activity, we were all silent, lost in our own dreams and thoughts. My friend plugged his I-pod into the car stereo.  Beautiful piano progressions drifted gently from the speakers. I was captivated in such a way by the music; so entranced by the melody that I didn’t think to ask the name of the artist until much later. Even now, I want to hold onto this feeling I then had, that the music had actually only been created for that specific drive home from the mountains.  The notes and chords had matched so seamlessly with the experience that I couldn’t comprehend it existing as some independent entity. 

I found out, of course, the name of the pianist: Ludovico Einaudi. I wrote it down and forgot it the next day.  And probably, subconsciously, because I couldn’t imagine the music existing in any moment other than that surreal drive home that night.

Two weeks ago, my friend Vish sent me two musical recommendations.  I downloaded some samples and it wasn’t even until I was in the middle of one of the songs that I recalled that piano-playing. Vish had recommended Ludovico Einaudi.  And being so far from that apple-picking trip, I hadn’t even remembered his name until I heard the music.

Today, I had an easy- 14 miles, and 10 of them were spent listening to Mr. Einaudi. I got lost in my thoughts as I recalled that trip to the apple orchards. The sights, smells, tastes, I could remember them all so vividly. And then I took in my current surroundings. So much green, so many little creeks (all of which put the Southwest’s “rivers” to shame), birds chirping and, to my surprise, caterpillars and butterflies everywhere!  Another beautiful day.

And somehow, today, this music matched everything again so well.  My mood, the surroundings, my energy level. I couldn’t separate the music from the experience. I was lost in it.  And all I could think about was how powerful music is. It is just a combination of chords and melodies, and yet it can so easily transport us back to fond memories, seamlessly complement a range of experiences, and almost always make us feel something. Pain, love, anger, melancholy, adrenaline…there is a song for each of those emotions.

So today’s post is in honor of music and all the people involved in creating it and making sure we can get our hands on it. Thank you.


Author: zoegoesrunning

Hello! I'm a runner, a writer, and have run across the United States and the Tour de France course. Most recently, I'm blogging about my adventures in an MFA program that will bring me to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, and my teaching plans for Argentina.

4 thoughts on “Musical Lives”

  1. Wow Sparky …that is so spot on …music . Such a short word with so many rhythms . Such a simple word with so many feelings , such a simple word that fulfills so many emotions .

    I have many fond memories of you and with them many special songs …remember the night we cruised to Guster , or the enjoyment of Greg Brown as he took us away from Spring Chores . How about endless summer days listening to Van Morrison on our way to the beach …the happy , carefree feeling we all shared singing 5 Years Time !

    And the beat goes on , Dad xoxoxox

  2. Hey Sparky Your music post fits perfectly with the calendar you left us- for April 4th you wrote “This week is devoted to one of my favorite songs. I know I will listen to it time and time again while I’m gone.” Dad & I & everyone reading this will have to wonder until we lift the post-it for April 5th!
    Be safe & happy tunes along the way,oxoxo mom

  3. This post is especially ironic for me…I was JUST telling Margaret how important music has been for me these past few weeks/months. With the absence of color in Maine, I spent a day off listening to Pablo Nutini’s CD in its entirety. It immediately brought me back to that warm fall day in Richmond, when you, Rosa, Margaret, and I sat around together before an eventful halloween night on the town. These songs filled me with joy, and sent me to a place filled with peace and love. Don’t stop listening to your music, and may the good ole’ tunes bring you home safely. Love you sparky.

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