We are witness to an age that could paralyze us, to people in power who don’t know what they’re doing, to the rise of hatred and intolerance. So here is a countervailing force–music.
Here are a couple of stanzas from One Fine Day
Then before my eyes, is standing still
I beheld it there, a city on a hill
I complete my tasks, one by one
I remove my masks, when I am done
Then a peace of mind fell over me —
In these troubled times, I still can see
We can use the stars, to guide the way
It is not that far, the one fine —
One fine dayOne Fine Day by David Byrne and Brian Eno
Feels prescient, doesn’t it? In much the way that E.B.White’s Here is New York felt after 9/11:
The subtlest change in New York is something people don’t speak much about but that is in everyone’s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.
We are none of us writing only for this day, yet all we can know is what’s before our eyes. It has to be enough. We don’t have a choice. We have to hope that, in the fullness of time, at least some of our words might grow into their own sufficiency. For that reason, it behooves us to choose them with care.