Monday, January 18, 2016

Praise Music

I was lying down in the back of the boat, tired after a day in the sun and swimming with turtles in the Galapagos Islands. We were only a half hour away from our destination, when a jarring thud hit the bottom of the boat. Shocked, I popped up to catch a quick glimpse of a whale fin flying into the air. A killer whale surfaced, then slid back into the sea.

The boat sputtered to a stop. Crew members climbed to the back of the boat and lifted both engines out of the water. One propeller was completely bent and rendered inoperable. The other was slightly damaged and the crew assessed it might be enough to get us to the island. The half hour trip turned into a tortuous three hour tour.

I layed back down and turned on my music. The Broadway recording of Les Miserables got me through the long boat ride. I listened to the whole score, "Bring Him Home," and "A Heart Full of Love," over and over again. The music saved me and to this day, I am grateful to Les Miserable for helping me to endure.

Today's bus ride is across the Italian boot from the coast of Ancona to the interior of Florence. The bus ride was preceded by an overnight ferry ride, and I was relieved when I heard the trip was only one hour. When I learn it takes over three hours, I despair. I remember the travel delay in the Galapagos; I remember how music kept me sane.

I pull out my iPhone, clip in my earphones and thumb through today's selection. This trip will be saved and remembered by the voice of Carole King, Cat Stevens and every other significant song from the 70s and 80s.

Praise music.

Late one night we gather into the piazza after exploring and indulging in another gelato. The hamburger, French fry place blasts out a Justin Bieber song, which our dancing girls all know by heart. The music, the dancing is contagious and very soon an Italian woman joins the party. It could have gone all night except the bus arrives and shuts it down.

It's our last night with Antonio, bus driver extraordinaire, and he decides to turn on and turn up the Italian radio station. Popular songs incite an impromptu bus chorus. We are dancing in our seats and most of the students who know the songs by heart belt the words, the emotion out together. It's another memorable moment created by the unmistakeable energy of music.

Praise the universality of music.