My time in Sicily is coming closer and closer to an end. I’ve recently moved out of my apartment and into a hotel awaiting my departure from Italy. With flight schedules, departure dates and rental agreements all to manage – it was in my best interest to vacate my residence with a little more than ten days left in order to save from paying an additional whole month of rent. It has been hectic but manageable. With so much going on there is a lot of stress; worrying that something is going to get missed or go wrong. But, lately I find one of the biggest concerns I have is for the country that I will be returning home to.
I get the feeling that I may not recognize it when I return. The last four years spent living abroad I have seen and heard snippets of what America has transformed into. But the viewpoint that I see of my home country comes from the perspective of the outside world – the media agencies of Europe. I see reports of violence, bigotry, nepotism and injustice all proudly draped in the ideals of “America.” I see a country torn a part and in distress.
The information that I receive is not looped on an endless 24-hour mind numbing cycle. More often than not it is sprinkled in between information about refugee deaths, malnutrition and the need for aid to the impoverished people of various nations. It may come as a surprise to some but there is a lot going on around the world outside of the United States; and after just one day living in the hotel watching “American News” I get the feeling that the U.S. is selfishly unaware.
But, I am not going to write about my thoughts on geopolitics or American imperialism; or even the skewed offerings of mainstream media. That’s not what is of interest to me at this moment. Right now I’m going to talk about something that happened last night that no one will report on in the press, no one anywhere will tweet about or make any sort of status update regarding. I’m writing about something that is of no particular consequence to anyone – other than me.
I want simply to take a moment to recognize something that occurred last night in the Piazza dell’Universita in Catania, Sicily. Last night it was my pleasure to sit and enjoy an evening of live music by a local Sicilian singer-songwriter. Now it wasn’t the first evening that my family and I have gone to listen to this particular artist. I’ve probably seen him play close to twenty five times (give or take). I sit with my family and gently rock my daughter to sleep as he serenades us with songs such as Blackbird, Pink Moon and Chan Chan.
It is a Sicilian memory that I believe will remain one of my fondest.
Last night however, was a little different. Following the show I spent about five minutes talking with the musician about music and influence. It was a conversation that found two men from drastically different backgrounds, cultures and experiences finding a common ground rooted in a real and true connection. A connection brought about by music – an art form that is deeply personal to the individual and at the same time so widely consumed by the masses.
I found our conversation to be inspiring; and despite our vast differences at that moment we were the same: both lovers of music. It isn’t a story that will garner any attention or particular acclaim. It was just one of many seemingly insignificant human interactions that occur daily – that somehow have a profound impact – even if it is still yet unknown.
It is ‘the silence between the notes where the music truly happens.’