Monday, May 16, 2011

Communication, Heightened Here, Broken There

Saturday, early afternoon, our book group considered Shirley Hazzard’s novel, The Transit of Venus. Her writing was lyrical to some but lost in flight to others as it orbited the room. Like much serious literature her language provoked both gasps of joy and grumbles.

We then raced off to Dodger stadium to witness either an exhibition in offensive ineptitude, the artistry of pitching or both. The single run and lone hit for the victorious opposition came as a result of a miscommunication between our pitcher, catcher and shortstop. The catcher gave hand signals for a pick-off play, not read by the infielder and the winning run scored. Momentary inattention broke the chain. A flubbed gesture of arms so that the good news never reached Ghent. Some what makes it across the abyss and some what fails. During the ballgame we rose, as a collective, for the 7th inning stretch, listened to Irving Berlin’s anthem of God’s blessing and pretended to believe it, as we pretended that the game really mattered. Then we swayed uncaring if we ever got back, under the spell of the popcorn, crackerjacks, green grass and crack-of-the-bat.

Everyone was on the same page at the Lighthouse Cafe, Sunday morning, for the big band of Mike Barone; eighteen musicians seamlessly picking up each other's threads weaving into some crazy quilt. Here was a heated musical conversation between reed and brass punctuated by piano, bass and drum. Trombones and horns answered tenor, alto and baritone sax. Trumpets chased the flight of the bumble bee. Flugelhorn dialoged with dueling saxophones. Melancholy Baby was resonant with our bones as if they were born knowing and had a re-birth rocking us in our chairs. Some of the solos seemed to dive off the Hermosa Beach pier and ride back on the white caps.

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