These Are The Days Of Our Lives
(By Paul Graham)
Whilst mulling over what to write, I become conscious of the sounds of the world around me. Shortly, there will be the tappity-tap of my fingers on the computer keyboard as I start committing my thoughts to paper (in a virtual sense). However, just for a moment, I am aware of the noises coming through the open window of the study as I cogitate and ruminate.
So, what are the aural treats for today? In the middle-distance, I can hear the throaty hum of a lawnmower, a common enough sound at this time of year. There is the occasional snatch of bird song, a tweet here and a tweet there, as our feathered friends let each other know the latest aviary gossip (who is still putting out food, where the local cats are prowling, that sort of thing).
Pretty soon, as it is just past 2 o’clock in the afternoon, there will be the sound of school children frantically seeking the freedom of the highways and byways of Clare once released from classroom captivity, along with the wails and calls of the inmates of Clare Bears being reunited with parents and grandparents. But that’s not for a while yet.
In the meantime, I turn from the sounds of the outside world and immerse myself in some music while typing. What to play to accompany my writing? I turn to the music of Queen, a favourite band of mine, with the talents of Messrs Mercury, May, Taylor and Deacon providing the soundtrack to my Musing. At least I can’t hear the clacketty-clack of the keyboard so noticeably above Freddie’s vocals.
But why be a fan of Queen, you might well ask? Well, partly because I like the music, but mostly because of the memories that listening to the band bring back to the fore. It is because they provided the music for one of my favourite films (the 1980 Flash Gordon film, starring such luminaries as Topol, Max Von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Brian “Gordon’s alive!” Blessed and the Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan), one which I return to year after year at Christmas time, as that’s when I first saw it in the early 80s. It’s because Queen was a favourite band of my best mate at Primary School, who wanted to be a drummer in the mould of Roger Tylor, even ruining drum skins by adding a layer of water to create the splash effect as seen on stge.
It is because I distinctly remember the day in 1991 when Freddie Mercury’s death was announced and the shock that fell across my cohort at Sixth Form college. I also remember listening to their second volume of Greatest Hits relentlessly when staying with my grandmother in the mid-90s, either on the coach journey between Swindon and Cambridge, or in my room while she dozed during the afternoons.
So here we have something to muse on together: the sounds of life around us that speak of today and the music of the past that evokes memories of a world that has gone, never to return.
But there is a third part to this: the unknown future that will be your “today” when you read these words. I have no idea what will happen in the few days that will pass between my writing and your reading, but each moment will have been a present in more than one sense of the word.
Each day is a gift from God, who (as we are reminded in both word and song) makes each day for us to rejoice and be glad in. Each day that travels from anticipation via participation to retrospection is given to us by our Creator, lovingly crafted by the passage of the stars, the orbit of our planet, all held within the delicate balance of highly unlikely chance.
And as each day is a gift, I can give thanks to God for those memories that mean so much to me (and for those many others that have faded into the background). For the people who make up those memories, the places that I’ve been and the opportunities that have been offered (some of which I took).
Equally, I can give thanks to God for this present moment, for the beauty of the natural world, the sun currently shining (though for once not in defiance of the weather forecasters) and the life that makes itself heard.
And finally, I can give thanks in anticipation of the uncertain future of this world, holding onto the more certain hope of the world to come.
So, what do you find evokes memories for you? Is it a certain piece of music, a particular smell or something else?
What can you be thankful for today? And what can tomorrow bring that you can thank God for in advance?
(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)