Listening to wonderful music is good for the soul

Laurie Snider
Notes from the Nest

The sweet fragrance of late spring flowers, mixed with the earthy scent of pond water, wafted in on the breeze, through the open window. Eyes closed, I rested my head against the window frame, as the gently, swirling air tussled my hair.

I surrendered completely, as the ethereal sounds from the enchanting songstress and her stirring fiddle strains, penetrated through the layers of tension and weariness, I’ve been hauling around for some time now, deep into my soul. I passively allowed the melodic sounds to wash over me, slowly replacing feelings of distraction and unease, with a sense of calm and tranquility.

And in the next moment, the other 80 or so guests and myself, gathered in the old barn, were heartily tapping our toes, kicking up our heels and clapping along, as she artfully made her fiddle, joyfully play for us. Kelli Trottier is an astonishing talent! In the arts world she is known as a triple threat. She expertly plays the fiddle, sings like an angel and step dances with a rhythm and fluidity that seems effortless.

Randy and I and our son Benny, were lucky enough to be among the enthusiastic attenders, for this outstanding afternoon of entertainment. We’re blessed to call the owners of the barn, Doug and Pam, our friends. We’ve spent many afternoons and evenings partaking in and enjoying memorable and fun events, in their charming and unique venue. When they shared that they’d be hosting Kelli for an afternoon of entertainment, we knew it wasn’t to be missed.

As is the usual case, a great group of friends and family eagerly gathered together, to set up chairs, serve light refreshments, and help the musicians set up equipment and then pack it all up again when the day was done. As my friend Doug says, “It’s good clean fun!” And it was! Great music, tasty food, lots of laughter, warmth, conviviality and friendship. It was the perfect tonic.

There are plenty of times during our journeys through our days, when life seems heavy, perplexing and even precarious, which can leave one feeling overwrought, tense, and uptight. Our perspectives may be skewed, leaving the glass looking more than half empty and the skies appearing awfully gray. It’s easy to become off balance.

That’s why it’s so important to find ways to destress, in a world where we’re all not only facing our own challenges and burdens, but also where we’re bombarded daily with hyper-partisan politics and alarmingly disparaging rhetoric, being thoughtlessly spewed about, which can further darken our moods. A rousing afternoon of music, in a barn with such appeal and ambiance was an excellent antidote.

The first time I saw    Trottier perform was at the Napanee Fair, a few years back. I thoroughly delighted in her lively, upbeat music and was exceedingly impressed by her extraordinary multi-talents. I picked up her Taking Time CD after the show. Afterwards, I listened to it, while outside working in my gardens. I remember thinking how agreeable, uplifting and fun her music was, as I flitted around our yard, dancing like no one was watching!

Commonly, after listening to particular music for a while, I’ll tuck it away for a bit and change things up. I guess that’s what I did with Trottier’s CD. Many songs seemed fresh and new as she replayed them, in the barn.

It’s a funny thing how different songs mean different things, at different times. On this occasion when she played a particularly, poignant song called, “The cows aren’t coming home,” which she wrote about her own father, it moved me, as I had thoughts of my own father and father-in-law and the changing seasons of life.

After the show, I pulled out the CD again and reread her notes on the inside cover. She speaks of how she named the CD, Taking Time, as it became her goal, after a health scare she suffered in 2012. With great wisdom she says, “I am very conscious of how precious our time and lives are. I’ve been trying to take more time to see family and friends, to laugh, to relax.” She then kindly advises, “I hope you’ll remember to take time for yourselves too!”

Certain events in our lives, undoubtedly make us pull focus and serve as reminders of what’s truly important. Something I’ve learned about life is, how particular people show up, or situations occur at just the right moments. Perhaps, when we didn’t even realize we needed them.

A fabulous afternoon of such joyful, inspiring song and dance, in the company of cherished family and friends, definitely leads to a clearer perspective, a greater sense of balance, bluer skies and a glass that is undeniably more than half full!

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