Today is the Winter Solstice, an important day in the calendar, when darkness culminates and the return of light begins.
The darkness has seemed particularly dark this year, so the end of this cycle is welcome. But before moving on I felt like taking a minute (or an hour) to wallow in it. Darkness, after all, is overcome by confronting it, not by avoiding it; in the I Ching, the “young light” emerges only after “darkness is increased by one.”
But of course, being who I am, I couldn’t resist adding some uplift at the end. It may take a while to arrive, but hold on, it’s coming. I recommend listening at dusk with a cocktail in hand, as I am doing at this very moment.
I know it’s generally considered rude to remind people that they’re going to die. But I’ve been guilty of it in the past, and if you listen to this I’ll be guilty of it again:
And yes, sure, it can de depressing to contemplate mortality. But then again, as Ford Prefect says (paraphrasing, I think, Dr. Johnson), “the prospect of death contracts the mind wonderfully.” Often as not, and maybe this is just a quirk of my strange personality, I find being reminded of my own eventual demise oddly exhilarating: a reminder that I am in fact alive now, and free to do as I please for whatever time remains. It can be nice and bracing, like a splash of cold water across the face, if you’re into that kind of thing. Caveat auditorus.
Few things in this life bring me more pleasure than throwing together a bunch of music and sharing it with people. Alas, the days of the mixtape are long gone, and the mix CD has now followed it into the grave. Yet the urge lingers.
A few weeks ago I started playing around with posting stuff to a site called Mixcloud, which saves me the expense of postage or the trouble of driving all around the East Bay on Halloween to distribute cassettes (as I once did). But figuring out how to embed these things in a blog post caused me a great deal of what now seems to have been needless aggravation.
Anyway, with these problems now behind us, allow me to present…