Day 4,5 – Rest, History, Family, & Country
My father had holes in his shoes on the alter. It’s one of those little lost tidbits of history which offer such a supreme jolt to one’s perspective. It’s what I’d come for.
Sitting in the living room with my grandmother, who has endured so many health issues in the last few weeks, now seemed strong and aware, like I had always known her to be. It’s not often you get to sit and talk with a woman who’s lived and persevered as she has.
My grandma, Betty, moved to Japan when my grandfather had been stationed there, immediately following the end of WWII. She went by boat, with my 18-month-old mother in tow, through a typhoon on a 17-day trip. A journey that only exists in books and imaginations for most of us today.
This journey with music is about awareness and Rest is a key element. In fact, all the elements of music are equally applicable in what people refer to as ‘daily life’. When you are engaged, you can slow down time. You aren’t just passing the time for some future hope or dream. Your intentions are crystallized and your articulation is distinct. You recognize positive and negative energy and stay clear of the latter.
It was with these thoughts that I approached DC, for the first time since I was in grade school. I could immediately feel the stress of this town. The confused and chaotic energy is palpable, but it also feels patriotic. Around every corner you are reminded of what this great country was built on. At the same time, around every corner, you just may be jettisoned out of the cities by its very own design. You see, DC is an insiders town: not just in the people, but in the roads whose city planners designed them as to draw those unfamiliar with their thrust and parry, outside into someone else’s town.
Arlington National was humbling. When you read the words of John F Kennedy, you understand the power of words themselves. In that storytelling makes us uniquely human, your words can incite, unite and they may just get you killed. Ted Sorensen helped JFK construct many a speech, but John also wrote many of those words himself, inspired, I’m sure, as we all were when the truths fell out of his mind.
Here is Arlington. I also got to meet my Grandfather for the first time, Robert Leo McLaughlin, a man who with Betty had done so much. It was nice to finally meet him but that wasn’t true, I knew him already in the impressions he left with my family.