Saturday, March 14, 2009

Easy Enlightenment 2/12/09

There's plenty things you can learn every day. Every day.

Billy Eckstine

Are you ready for your valentine?
The first time I saw Billy Eckstine sing was on TV way back in the late 40s. In those days the only black entertainers one saw on network television were usually tap dancers. That was when we were told they all had "natural rhythm." Remember that?
(All rhythm is natural, folks. Ask any drummer, black, white or otherwise.)

Mr. B was born in 1914, started singing at the age of 7, and became a major influence in the jazz world all the way up to the 80's. He had his own orchestra, sang and played the trumpet. He gave many jazz greats their start.
The trick to learning things every day is being alert. The first thing I have to remind myself of is that there is going to be something there to learn, every day, Sometimes I go looking for it and sometimes I don't.

Then I have to notice the lesson when it comes. I have to remember to ask myself if it is something I knew yesterday. If not, I then have to wrap it up in my mind as a gift, to be opened whenever I need it. Sometimes learning the new thing means throwing out the old thing. So be it. I try to avoid sitting in the quicksand of the "tried and true."

I have stacks of books on all sorts of topics that interest me. Some of them are about things that have absolutely no vital bearing on my life. But so what? I'm learning about the efforts of the Indians to shake loose of the British Empire's control of their country. I'm learning about the origins of the biblical word "Leviathan," I'm learning about the difference between "vague" and "borderline" cases. I'm learning about the life of Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus). And I'm learning about classical realism in modern art.

Those things interest me. But they don't interest me until I start the journey, until I open the book and start to read or go outside and start looking around. And that's the other trick. I have to overcome the inertia of not looking for new things, not being open to grasp them and not paying attention to what is around me.

Knowing that is one of the new things I've learned.

DB Vagabond Journeys

Sweeten up your life a little bit today. You deserve it.

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