Friday, April 1, 2016

Life from Life

April 1, 2016

Sound. Waves of moving air that impact the eardrum, causing it to vibrate and transmit that kinetic energy to the inner ear where it is converted to electrical impulses that travel to the brain which interprets it in its various nuances as the voice of a loved one, the cry of a baby, or the scream of a siren. This afternoon at band rehearsal, the sound varied from the bright call of the trumpet to the trill of the flute and the thrumming of the tympani. I played my bassoon.

The bassoon is of the woodwind family, instruments traditionally made of wood, with the exception of the flutes and saxophones, and now the occasional plastic bassoons and clarinets. Yesterday as I mused upon the theological nature of sound itself, it occurred to me that Sound, the very essence of existence, has a unique characteristic when it comes to the woodwinds., These are the only wind instruments made of that which once was itself alive, which gives to their sounds its own peculiar timbre. The brass are bright and loud, but the woodwinds are different. They once partook of life itself, and they transmit some of that life to the sound that emanates from them.

Unlike the strings, which make their sound by the plucking of the string or the drawing of the bow, the woodwinds need breath to sound. In the languages of the Scriptures, breath, wind, and spirit are the same word. So that which once partook of life require life to sound...a double aliveness that is compounded by the double reed of the bassoon or oboe.

All this is speculative, but today as I huffed and puffed, I wasn't blowing down any straw or stick houses, but was instead breathing life anew into the room. I wasn't the only one doing so, but of all the instruments in the band, there were only four of us breathing life through double reeds and wood, participating in an almost trinitarian manner in life itself.

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