Are you familiar with the folk tale, “Henny Penny?”  Here in the United States, the tale is sometimes called “Chicken Little.”  In short, an acorn falls on a chicken’s head and the chicken panics.  “The sky is falling!”  There are two endings, one happy and one not so happy.  Foxes, chickens…you know how that generally works out.

Lately, as I’ve scanned the news, read blogs, and listened to the radio, I’ve seen and heard a lot of hand wringing and Henny Penny-ism.  Why wouldn’t you think the sky is falling?  There is violence, riots, and a man with a big yellow pompadour strutting about the national stage.  There is a daily drumbeat of “the sky is falling.”  It’s hard to look away from it.

Look away.

Fort FairfieldThat’s the Fort Fairfield Library in Fort Fairfield, Maine.  It’s a pleasant diversion from the “falling sky” meme.  This little library near the Canadian border is one of my favorites.  It was quiet the day we visited and the sun brightened the rooms in a certain way that encouraged silence and contemplation.  There was an inviting chair next to a now-unused fireplace which beckoned solemn pursuits like reading and thinking.

I’m glad I’m not a professional political blogger, compensated for creating new content about the same story day after day.  Just this blog and an occasional article about food or events for the local newspaper.  The story I’m working on this week is a feature on a classical music concert.

On April 3, 2016, the Maine Music Society in conjunction with Bates College will give a performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston.  This work is considered by some to be the most difficult piece of choral music ever written, with over 100 voices and a 65 piece orchestra.  I’ve interviewed a number of the singers; men and women with jobs and things to do in addition to practicing this complex piece of music.  None of the singers I interviewed mentioned that the sky was falling.

As part of my research for the story, I attended a practice session at the Bates College Olin Arts Center.  The singers were warming up with progressive scales when I entered the auditorium.  John Corrie, the conductor, was at the piano and there was so much warmth and electricity in the room.  There was not one unhappy face visible.

It felt like a locomotive train idling in the station in preparation for a long-anticipated journey.

That’s what I’m working on today.  I’m trying to “get inside” this piece of music and finish my feature story.  It will run on Sunday, March 27, 2017.

Let’s hope the sky doesn’t fall before then.

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2 Responses to Solemnis

  1. Jim says:

    Funny. I wrote a Henny Penny post back in 2013 because I was sick of all the hand-wringing I was buffeted by at the time. It never goes away.

    How to detach and tune it out?

    My free time the past two days has been spent on March Madness. It’s only college basketball, so in the larger scheme, not that important. But it sure beats all the tired political crap being spewed via social media.

    Then, there’s the commencement of a writing project. I’m enjoying having the goal of completion looming in the distance.

    Oh, and umpiring will ramp up in another month and keep me busy.

    As they say, “it’s all good,” all but the Henny Penny-ism.

    • There is no shortage of edifying things to do, that much is true. It is the “looking away from the crash” that is difficult. So much cray cray out there masquerading as normal. Looking forward to hearing about your new writing project.

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