As I was sitting here staring at the blank screen and trying to figure out what to write about, I realized that I could hear "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck coming from the other room. I don't know what Christopher was doing, but that's what was playing.
And, suddenly, I was home in my parents' house as a kid probably on a Sunday afternoon when Mom would be painting and Dad would be reading the newspaper or napping. The four of us kids would be doing our own things - frequently involving reading books or annoying each other - and the stereo would be on. There was a lot of Dave Brubeck. There was also a lot of Neil Diamond and Chuck Mangione and stuff that spanned the decades from the 50s forward.
I watched a CBS Sunday Morning interview with Tim McGraw over the weekend, and he talked about how people can pinpoint parts of their lives through music. When I heard that I knew exactly what he was talking about. For me, music has always been one of my touchstones - one of the things that anchors me.
I hear songs and although I may not know where I was when I heard them, I almost always know what it felt like, who I was with, and what part of my life they connect to.
There's a 17-year-old kid from the Twin Cities area named Zach Sobiech, who has gotten a lot of attention in the past few months for a song he's written - and recorded - called "Clouds." It's a great song, and it seems to be touching a lot of people on many different levels, even though he admits that it was written as a private thing. (It's gotten over 2 million hits on YouTube in less than 3 months, and is available on iTunes.)
It stopped being private when one of the local radio stations was doing its annual fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Research Fund and they met Zach, who happens to have Osteosarcoma which has - at this point - reached the end of its treatability. I heard him on the radio, today, with his mom who was trying to explain to the radio hosts that they are now completely beyond any possible treatments. So, really, at this point it's just a waiting game.
In the meantime, though, Zach has recorded an album with his singing partner (Sammy Brown) and has been signed by BMI records as a songwriter. No one knows how many songs he'll have the chance to write, or what will happen to them. But, still, the opportunity... the possibility... it's there in front of him.
In my life, songs are tied to memories, emotions, dreams, and daydreams - all those things that impact my life in the long run, for better or worse. And my long run is already almost 3 decades more than Zach's. Having come across "Clouds," I can only hope to also fill those memories with the kind of passion and grace he's showing in his music.
**You can read more about Zach Sobiech, make a donation to the Children's Cancer Research Fund, and/or listen to "Clouds" here.