Turning Medicine Into Music
Phases of the Moon - What's It About?
Quantum Physics. Cosmology. Love, Sex & Death. Over and over again.
We only have one cemetery in Stratford, but it’s a doozy; lots of trees, benches and places to reflect. I love taking walks there, especially in the shady, older areas where the tombstones date back to the 1800’s.
One particular evening, I saw a tombstone that read “In memory of John Cahill. Who died Aug. 27, 1888. Aged 73 Years”.
I remember thinking “Wow! Nobody remembers you. Who were you? Was your life good?”
I kept walking and a few minutes later looked up to see a beautiful crescent moon rising. It occurred to me that old John used to look up at the very same moon I was looking at now, and that very same moon had looked down upon him. I thought about all the people in the cemetery, and how they had all, at some point, gazed at the same moon.
My musings led me to wonder (once again) what life was all about, and I considered that perhaps what gives our lives meaning is that we are all part of one great, beautiful, endlessly repeating pattern.
This thought, among other things, influenced the composition of my song “Phases of the Moon”. I thought that I was quite clever to have figured out the meaning of life.
As I continued working on the song, however, a new feeling seemed to emerge from it; a sort of yearning or longing. This wasn’t something that I had intended. I listened more closely to my own lyrics and gradually realized something. Although the singer in this song was saying that we are all part of a beautiful, repeating cycle of life, death and rebirth there was something more. The singer was trying to reach across space and time to a particular moment; to place it in the sky and make it permanent. He wanted to hold on to it forever.
Is it not enough just to feel that we are part of a grand pattern, and will eventually be forgotten as individuals? Or do we need something more?
To make things worse, around that time I developed an unhealthy interest in quantum physics and cosmology. I took some courses and read some books. I always assumed that literature and art (sex & death/love & life) in all its forms are writ large on the immutable canvas of space and time. However, quantum physics suggests that space and time are not so constant and fixed as we thought. So now the possibilities seem endless.