Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happenings in Middle Tennessee

Recently I have had the good luck to attend a few quality happenings here in our area.
As I was painting the painting above in the Leiper's Fork area I could hear a sound check in the distance.  If you ever hear a sound check in the Leiper's Fork area, run to it. I guarantee it will be a show like none other. The area is full of talented and pedigreed musicians and when they get together it is a show. The sound check I had heard was for two bands to play on the back porch there in the fork. The Hog Slop Stringband and L'Angelus.  To say these bands were talented and tight would be an understatement. If they come anywhere near you, go.
My second southern cultural experience was the Tennessee Shakespeare Festival's rendition of "Comedy of Errors". It is Shakespeare set in late 19th century S.C. and it is clever and funny and is held under a large tent on the campus of The Webb School in Bell Buckle Tennessee. Take a picnic, bottle of wine and a blanket and make an evening of it. It is a great way to spend a summer evening.
And thirdly, I spent July the fourth at the Nashville fireworks display downtown. What a fireworks show! Geez. We have friends that have an apartment on the hill at Lea Street at the grassy field above the old KDF building. Great view and easy parking. Sweet. Thanks Sherri. Something else that if you haven't done you might want to try at least once. It's awesome. The roar and bang factor is phenomenal. We were a half mile away and it shook the whole building we were in. As it was happening I imagined the din and concussion of Paris streets during the Franco Prussian war of 1870, Gettysburg, or the charge of the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers and the 8th and 11th Hussars straight up a mile long valley in Balaclava into and through a line of cannon in a constant state of fire. What could that have possibly felt and sounded like? I was flinching at a firework show a half mile away. Not being from a military background it is incomprehensible to me what can compel a soldier to complete a mission in that type of chaos and shock. They call it bravery but to me bravery is living your life openly as you are, amidst bigotry and hate, it is sitting at the front of the bus when society tells you you don't have the right, or stepping up with courage and dignity and taking that first step in a long and arduous battle with cancer. Those things take courage. Combat is something else entirely, something I don't have a word for or understand. Is it training? Teaching the mind to do something that is completely abnormal to every ounce of fiber in the human psyche that says flee? All I know is that it is possible and works because every time we as a nation stand up and point and say "there, there is your enemy" the military strap on their boots, set their jaw and hurl themselves at the dogs of war.
"Theirs not to make reply,
  Theirs not to reason why,
  Theirs but to do and die:
  Into the Valley of Death"


Susan Roux said...

Fireworks always make me think of war too. For years as a child, I missed seeing the beautiful colors because my eyes were shut so tightly with hands covering, feeling like I was being bombed. I don't know what gives soldiers the power to trudge forward in these types of conditions, but thank God they do. Nice to meet you. Lovely painting.

Lisa said...

A few days ago I typed a comment on the Carnton post that I meant to type on this post... I was just saying that I enjoyed reading this post! The trains of thought were really interesting. I would have liked hearing string bands in Leiper's Fork, too!