Flight

Greetings!

More than two months has passed since my last blog post.

I started writing several drafts, but none seemed worthy of completion…

This morning, however, I awoke from very sweet dreams — about returning to my elementary school as an adult — and started the day by stretching on our back porch.

Photo by Russell_Yan from Pixabay  

A mockingbird was singing a wonderfully idiosyncratic song from a nearby roof, and the sky above me was totally blue.

Many birds passed high in the sky — swallows swooping back and forth (maybe catching bugs?), a pair of ducks en route from one body of water to another, some cooing doves, a bright red cardinal, and a seagull.

They reminded me of a song by Craig Carnelia called “Flight.”

It was first recorded by actress and singer Karen Akers in 1994, and since then it has been performed by a bunch of Broadway folks including Ben Platt, Betty Buckley, Brian Lane Green, and Sutton Foster.

The Cambridge Center For Adult Education

When I recorded it with pianist Doug Hammer, I was still working as the assistant director of a non-profit in Harvard Square — the Cambridge Center for Adult Education — and longing to break free from my day job so that I could devote myself to making music.

I had started at the CCAE by volunteering to help with a new musical series that the PR director, a wonderful singer named Tracy Gibbs, was putting together called The Cabaret Connection.

My offer to help transformed into a part-time job overseeing not only The Cabaret Connection but also another series called The Jazz Chair and a few other special events.

Then I began sharing responsibility for publicizing these events, and when Tracy left for a new job, I was offered a full-time position as PR director for the entire CCAE.

Photo by Peter H from Pixabay 

This was not my plan.

My plan was to have a part-time day job so that I could continue to do plenty of music on the side.

But now my day job would INCLUDE music — and I would gain new perspectives (such as what it was like to have performers contacting me about the possibility of being booked into one of our musical series…)

So I said, “Yes.”

After a few years, our development director left, and I took over her responsibilities as well.

Eventually I became assistant director and helped to bridge the transition between the retirement of our beloved executive director and the arrival of his successor.

Photo by Bessi from Pixabay 

Then I was laid off.

Yikes!

Time for a deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

This was a surprise and a shock — but perhaps also a blessing.

I had been working 40-70 hours per week for many years — and I was grateful to slow down.

I also have a fair amount of “the disease to please” in my emotional constitution as well as a low tolerance for risk.

Photo by Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay

So even though many of my more psychologically astute (and cherished) co-workers had seen the writing on the wall regarding the pros and cons of our new executive director and had found new employment elsewhere, I had remained loyal (or some might say “stuck”) to the longtime CCAE community of teachers, board members, students and volunteers.

Being laid off might have been the only way to get me to leave.

And dare to focus on music.

Another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

Photo by Nora Dybdal

So I signed up to learn how to be a Music Together teacher — which some of my musical peers had thought I might enjoy.

And they were right!

I also began putting together one-hour programs of music with a jazz pianist, Joe Reid, who had left full-time employment as a corporate lawyer to pursue HIS love of music.

And I continued writing songs.

Now I listen to “Flight” with a very different perspective from when I first learned it — and was feeling such a longing to break free…

Now my time is completely my own — to vision, to plan, to shape, to fill!

I have nothing I want to escape.

My only deadlines are the minor ones I give myself AND the major ones related to climate change which loom ever larger and more terrifying with each passing day of denial and inaction.

Photo by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay 

Another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

I love the imagery in Craig’s lyrics — and the flow of the narrator’s thought processes from one moment to the next…

Photo by Jörg Peter from Pixabay 

It reminds me of a sailboat tacking to and fro in response to the ever-changing winds.

However, we human beings were not satisfied with sailboats.

So we created the motorboat, which zooms, noisily and relentlessly — oblivious to what it might run over, hit, injure, or disrupt — in a straight line from point A to point B.

And then the airplane!

Life before fossil fuels seems like it was much less linear.

Paths and roads followed the curves of hills and streams — rather than being bulldozed or dynamited to create the most efficient and convenient line of travel.

I saw this same phenomenon in the sky this morning — with birds swooping in curvy lines while far above them a jet plane left a perfectly straight line of moisture and toxic emissions in the sky…

Photo by Dan Fador from Pixabay 

Yet another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

The desire to fly — and perhaps to fly away — has been with us human beings for thousands of years.

I often think about the myth of Daedalus and his son Icarus — who enthusiastically flew too high and too close to the sun (forgetting or ignoring his father’s warning about how the wax adhering the feathers of his marvelously-constructed wings could melt…) and fell to his death in the Mediterranean sea.

Oftentimes our human culture in the 21st century seems to be soaring ever higher on a frantic, teen-aged exuberance for relentless, profit-driven innovation and stimulation.

Photo by danny moore from Pixabay 

We ignore wise warnings about how our fossil-fuel-powered desires (for 24/7 computer functionality, for food at any hour of the day or night (much of it shipped from hundreds or even thousands of miles away), for the ability to travel via motorcycle, car, motorboat, ocean liner, bus, train, or plane wherever we want (and as much as we can afford… or choose to put on a credit card), for alternative currencies, etc. are leading us faster and faster towards global catastrophe.

One would think that any one of the challenges we have experienced in recent years here in the USA — flooding of major cities, changing weather patterns which have led to increased wildfires/hurricanes/tornadoes, as well as a year-long viral pandemic — might lead us to re-think and change our habits of consumption.

And might lead us to listen to scientists with a deepened respect.

Photo by WikiImages from Pixabay 

But I don’t see much of that happening…

Denial is indeed an extraordinary human phenomenon.

I certainly understand why the likely scenarios — such as famine, wars over water and arable land, vast migrations of desperate refugees, more epidemics of diseases — are too terrifying for most of us to set aside any time to contemplate.

How about a really deep breath in…

And a really deep breath out….

Photo by Pierangelo Averara from Pixabay 

The most recent — and to me ridiculous — example of our human hubris is Amazon gazillionaire Jeff Bezos building a huge, 500-million-dollar super-yacht.

And — getting back to the topic of flight — the creation of rocket ships — which take our human desire for flight to an entirely different level.

I saw a posting on Facebook recently with which I immediately agreed:

Photo by GooKingSword from Pixabay 

“Mars sucks. Its weather sucks. Its distance sucks. Its atmosphere sucks. The little water it has…sucks. It has sucked for billions of years and will suck for billions more…

You know what doesn’t suck?

Me, earth.

I have life.

I have vast oceans and lush forests.

I have rivers to swim and air to breath.

But the way I’m being treated — that part sucks.

You use me and pollute me.

You overheat me.

You use every resource I have, and return very little back from where it came.

And then you dream of Mars — a hellhole — a barren, desolate wasteland you can’t set foot on fast enough.

Why not use some of that creative energy and billions of dollars on saving me? You know, the planet that’s giving you what you need to live right now.

Mars can wait.

I can’t.”

Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

The only part of this posting with which I don’t agree is the idea that earth needs to be saved.

I am pretty confident that planet earth — having already withstood billions of years of evolutionary changes — will be OK.

We human beings are the ones whose existence is at stake — along with the millions of other forms of life (such as birds and bees and fungi and bacteria and trees and grasses and turtles and whales and algae and shrimp and wolves and bison) which are vital links in the amazing web of life here on planet earth which we are in the process of altering and destroying.

Deep sigh.

Awake, fellow humans!

Now is the time to make significant changes in how we live here on planet earth…

I am very grateful to the wonderful photographers who share their images at Pixabay.

I would also like to thank pianist/producer Doug Hammer for playing so magnificently on this track.

Another big thank you to Craig Carnelia for writing “Flight.”

And a final thank you to YOU for reading — and listening — to yet another one of my blog posts.

Photo by jplenio from Pixabay 

I’ve re-designed my website in recent months to include a LOT more music — and you are always welcome to visit there.

You can also find me on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and other digital music platforms.

One final breath in.

And out.

Life goes on…

57 thoughts on “Flight

  1. Yes..I agree whole hearted…and aren’t these photos grand?

    On Fri, Jun 4, 2021 at 6:51 AM amusicalifeonplanetearth wrote:

    > willedare posted: ” Greetings! More than two months has passed since my > last blog post. I started writing several drafts, but none seemed worthy of > completion… This morning, however, I awoke from very sweet dreams — about > returning to my elementary school as ” >

    • Thank you for reading AND leaving a comment! I am aware that having a blog (which lives on machines running 24-7 in some air-conditioned building on planet earth) and using my laptop computer are both activities which consume electricity — most of it probably still generated by burning fossil fuels somewhere. Deep sigh. But I also walk and ride my bike instead of using a car and don’t have a cell phone and have been eating much less meat in recent years. It’s hard to be part of the 21st century without consuming SOME fossil fuels…

  2. Beautiful song, beautifully sung! Thanks Will for your deeply felt thoughts and music. Your loving heart and soul help move the planet and humanity toward eventual harmony and balance. We will make it! ❤

  3. Thank you dear Will (and Doug) for this beautiful song. Your musing is so deep, yet so simple. And I have been missing the simplicity we had before all of our “progress and advances”, but then I’d be missing this. But I do think the Earth needs our help, just as we need to help each other 🕉

  4. Beautiful song and thoughtful post, Will. I love mockingbirds, and perhaps I was listening to one here at the same moment you were listening to one there. I think it is part of human nature to want to be curious and to want to fly–whether physically or metaphorically–even if we crash like Icarus.

    • Thanks for reading and listening and commenting! Mockingbirds are GREAT. We have one in our neighborhood who includes what sounds like a car alarm in her/his sequence of calls… As I grow older, I am feeling less scared on my own behalf and MUCH more concerned about the human generations — nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren — who are following us…

  5. What a deeply thoughtful post, Will! This is your circle of life, from the mockingbird to your roots and journey at work, to the earth, to the wings we all need in order to soar. Just wonderful! I had to read it twice, for pleasure. 🙂

    • Bless you for reading it twice, Jennie! I have been riding the waves of real life for the past couple of months (including the somewhat sudden death of my beloved stepfather and the very swift packing up of my mother’s life…) However, I continue breathing in AND breathing out!

  6. So glad you’re back here, Will. Nobody weaves together the aural, the visual, and the profoundly philosophical the way you do.

    Loved the song—and I’m 100% with you in your climate change frustration and call to action.

    Hope your freedom to pursue life on your own terms bears satisfying fruit.

    • Thank you for reading and listening and commenting!!! I am continuing to learn how to share my music with the rest of the world (so exciting to see that “Flight” has been downloaded 44 times since I published this post eight hours ago, for example) while also remaining politically engaged/active. Just started making a tiny monthly contribution to all of the senators who are up for re-election next year. Now I need to research the organizations who are pushing back against all the voter suppression/restriction laws that are being passed right and left… This week the wonderful radio program “Fresh Air” has had a bunch of terrific interviews — sharing one un-told historical fact after another illuminating our country’s bloody and terror-infused her/history — with articulate, curious, deep-hearted authors, journalists and musicians. I’ve started listening to “Fresh Air” podcasts while I stretch and strengthen each day… it’s been mind-opening! Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

      • That’s good to know. I have several podcasts that I listen to while walking; I’d forgotten about “Fresh Air.”

        My post tomorrow centers on our history.

        I suggest you look at “Democracy Docket.” Marc Elias is at the forefront of all the efforts to combat attacks on voting. Also Stacey Abrams’ “FairFight.” And though I realize it’s not possible to donate this widely, the state legislatures are critical—especially in the swing states.

        Breathe in; breathe out—for sure!

      • Yes. I am giving a modest amount each month to Fair Fight. I read that Ms. Abrams might be ready to run for governor of Georgia again?! I will check out Democracy Docket. And I will keep breathing in and out, g-d willing…

  7. Thanks for sharing your beautiful music and voice Will (both singing and writing). Kudos on daring or being pushed into working for yourself and the creative freedom to fly. May your heart and music continue to blossom. I share your environmental concerns, but seldom share them because I think we need inspiration and solutions much more than the continued reminders about the climate problems. Hugs and deep breaths…

    • Thank you for listening and reading, Lavinia. Yes! I often do not enjoy changes or changing — but it DOES appear to be the one constant in life. So I guess I need to practice embracing it more often and more open-heartedly…

  8. Thanks, Will, for your thoughts and music – so many things to think about in this post. It was worth waiting for. Sometimes those unexpected endings, jobs, relationships, even deaths, as painful as they may be, help to point us in a new direction that we really needed and we might not have found otherwise. I have been there many times. The song is so beautiful, as you sing it. I wish you on your way through the dawning day…

    • You are very welcome! Thank YOU for reading and listening and then making time to leave a comment, too. I very much appreciate hindsight and the way that things which have happened to us in the past begin to make sense in a new way with the passage of time… I’ve been immersed in a daily training session for the past week, learning how to expand the potential reach of my music. It may (with hindsight) prove to to be the dawning of a new day in my musical life! Thank you, too, for the lovely photographs you share with us via YOUR blog (the recent double rainbow — if I am remembering correctly — was extraordinary!)

  9. Beautiful rendition. I do like Craig Carnelia. Karen Akers, too. When a bad thing happened in my life, a minister friend said, “Maybe there’ll be a blessing in it.” Well, as you know, sometimes it takes a while to find the blessing, but it’s usually there. (Great photo of you and the young student!)

    • Thank you!!! It is a challenge when something difficult is happening to trust that — with hindsight — it will all make some sort of sense. But I — as you know — I DO strive to see the beauty and blessings all around whenever possible. And YOU do, too (and you document this practice so well in your beautiful photo essays…) I love that photo of me and one of my Music Together students. Her mom is very agile to capture these moments and generous to share them with me — along with permission for me to share them with others! She sent me another fun one of her daughter and me talking on banana-phones via Zoom at the end of class earlier this year which I have included (with her permission) on the Music Together page of my newly revamped website.

  10. I love this song, Will and you sing it so beautifully! I also love the photo of you with the little girl!
    I can imagine how hurt and surprised you were when you lost that job! What a reward for loyalty and hard work! I am glad you were able to start again and to find that change also means life and growth.
    Climate change is scary and often it seems as though no-one is aware of the dangers and we are charging ever faster toward disaster. Some governments and big businesses are starting to make changes in the way they do things and the voices of those who know what dangers lie ahead are becoming louder and are being listened to by more people. There is a danger that some governments are now asking for the impossible and by doing so are going to make things harder for us in the long run. For example: our government tells us that we have to stop using petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. I am not sure that by then we will have enough charging stations for all the electric cars. Will the price of electric cars come down so that everyone who wants one will be able to afford to have one? Will we have better public transport by then? I am afraid that they are saying things to appease the ‘green contingent’ but haven’t thought out exactly how they are going to make it work. We will see.
    Take care, Will and keep singing your wonderful songs!

    • THANK YOU, Clare, for reading/listening and then writing such an engaging comment. The construction of LOTS of electrical charging stations WILL be a big challenge — perhaps offset a bit by folks realizing that the ability to travel so widely and so often has been a-somewhat-damaging-to-our-collective-future luxury that many of us during the past generation or two have taken for granted and misused (having been encouraged to be ever-more-mobile-and-consumptive by the fossil fuel, automobile, and travel industries — among others). I am hopeful that electrical cars — and solar power collection systems for every roof — will reduce in price… we shall see! CBS-TV did a feature story yesterday about one our most important human-made lakes out west — which supplies water to southern California and two other states (maybe Arizona and Nevada?) being at its lowest level ever. The expert who was interviewed said something like, “People only change when we have to…” and mentioned water cutbacks on the horizon for farmers (who have been irrigating what would otherwise be desert-ish land for decades to grow food) and also to non-farmers. I think part of why so few of us seem ready to think about climate change is that the more one learns, the more terrifying the future scenarios become. What will happen in Southern CA, for example, when they have to use much less water, when fires in the hills continue to get worse, when another health pandemic arrives AND then a big earthquake happens? Any one of those challenges seems to be able — blessedly — to be met right now… but they are likely to continue piling up in new and complicated and unanticipated (by most of us) combinations in the next few years. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I was very close to a neighborhood disaster recently. A house on our street burned quite badly, and fire trucks came from our town and from three surrounding towns to put it out. I was very grateful that our neighbors had fire-fighting support from FOUR towns in total — but what would have happened if there were big fires in all of those towns at the same time? Few of us want to think about the worst case scenarios towards which we human beings are rushing. Another deep breath in. And deep breath out. This comment is way-too-long, and I need to return to a ten-day music business training course in which I’ve been participating. The empathy of YOUR comment seems to have opened my apocalyptic floodgates, however. Thank you, again, for reading and listening and thinking and commenting and caring, Clare!

      • Oh, Will! I hadn’t meant to make you feel so worried! I am hoping the authorities who are in charge of all the emergency vehicles are aware of all the worst case scenarios and are prepared! My sister works for the ambulance service in South East England and spends long hours in meetings with members of local governments, the police and fire services discussing these things and setting up practice runs to see if their theories work. I am sure this happens in the States too but maybe not in some poorer countries. Take care xoxo

    • Yes, Mike. We haven’t been well-educated about the power of tipping points — when systems which have remained in balance and (at least somewhat) functional for years and years suddenly stop being functional… Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Sometimes I remind myself to be grateful that — for yet another day — I have clean running water, electricity, food, friendly neighbors, birds singing in my backyard, access to health care, etc. That might not be true tomorrow.

  11. A great post Will! You have been through a lot of change in your life. I am glad to see your are resilient and able to reinvent yourself as you go. It will be great to have more time to work on Music. I enjoyed you music piece. Very fitting for your post! Good to see you back again. Your morning sounded wonderful!
    Take Care,
    Dwight

  12. I love how you tie your writing to a song, so beautiful, that sets the theme. So many things to think about in this post! I’m glad you have made a life doing what you love, and what you are so good at. Sometimes we need that kick in the pants to get going – I certainly have several times in my life. I’m planning to buy an electric car next year, already scoping out the possibilities. We all do what we can in our own way. Thanks once again for your thoughts.

    • Hi, Dawn: I am honored to be an inspiration for someone to sing. All sorts of positive things happen metabolically when we sing. Thank YOU for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Hurrah for singing!

  13. Grean chain of ruminations.
    But don’t fret. The multi billionaires – the few with all the savings of the many locked in their vaults – are busy in a space race.

    • Yes! It is very odd. to see some of their priorities. The ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, however, is giving away much of her millions (billions?) to a wide array of folks who are working to improve life on planet earth for all.

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