Music

‘Musica Universalis’ is an ancient philosophical concept that suggests that the balance and harmony of the universe creates a form of music, not necessarily audible. Something about the certainty of the sun rising from the East and silently setting in the West every single day produces a kind of symphony. The planets circling the sun, each in it’s own orbit, coordinated in perfect unison. The alternating of seasons, how each develops into the next. Everything seems to be in equilibrium, with not one element disturbing another.

Complimenting this perfect balance are the audible sounds of nature. The whistling breeze dancing through the leaves on a summer’s day, shaking the trees like rattles. The birds chirp louder in excitement, and the woodpecker knocks on the tree trunk faster. The flies buzz noisily around the flowers and a stream trickles nearby.

Somewhere else, a volcano erupts with a tremendous roar, as it spews out scorching lava that burns everything in it’s way. The ground trembles violently and things catch fire, then explode with loud booms. Its deafening, and one can feel the impact of the sound waves miles away. The trees ignite and burn with a savage crackle as the fire eats through them.

Rain falls and puts out the fire with a vehement sizzle. It gets heavier and heavier until it reaches an ear splitting crescendo- like the sound of a hundred chain-saws buzzing. Thunder rumbles, like they’re shifting furniture upstairs, and a flash of lightning illuminates the sky for a moment. It is the racket of nature.

Later, it is silent. The full moon makes sure of that. There is no sound at all. Everything is asleep. But then the chirping starts. The chorus of the crickets. Their song. It’s about the moon. The moon helps them find their way home.

At the rim of a continent, the waves gently lap against the shore. They swish and sigh and then burst when they collide with the rocks. The seagulls overhead squawk and complain while the fish underwater silently gulp water. The wind is loud and it roars angrily. A mile away, a rocket soars high into the sky and explodes into glitter with a bang. The people on the ground ‘ooh’ and ‘aahh’ and say ‘wow, wow, wow’. They sound like the sheep in the countryside and the dog that rounds them up. The fireworks crackle like the orange autumn leaves under a child’s foot.

A beetle scurries across the wooden floor, it’s gentle staccato sounding like the light patter of morning dew on the tin roof. A soul murmurs secrets and a brain throbs with a thousand voices that just can’t sing. A heart beats with a lub and dub, sending the rhythm in pulses across the universe, harmonizing with sounds to compose the symphony for Nature’s Music.

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I feel like I’m in space. Black nothingness abundantly decked with stars, glittering, dazzling. Or diamonds scattered on black velvet, shining with a beautiful richness. There are so many, some in clusters, others evenly spread across the horizon, and their combined effect is a breathtaking sight that leaves me literally starry-eyed. But they aren’t stars, nor are they diamonds. They’re lights. And the backdrop isn’t space or velvet; it’s the Kashmiri mountains stretching up to the night sky, blending, merging and becoming one, allowing the lights to form constellations in the star-less sky.

My Favourite Place

For me, taking a liking to a place usually means it has offered me comfort and a refuge. A haven that de-stresses me and provides an escape from my reality and takes me to another world (no, i’m not talking about LSD).

A little bell tinkles as I push through the doors. A familiar, musky smell hits me.The smell of books. Old books.

Mr Old Books, a tiny book store squeezed in a line of shops and restaurants has been my favourite place ever since I learned to read. Inside is a room exploding with a myriad of worlds, all embedded in the pages bound by hard backs, or paper backs. This shop is my second home; a place where I can browse through piles of books for hours. The books are sorted into their respective genres carelessly, but i don’t mind; I like chancing upon a book that I usually wouldn’t notice.

The shopkeeper sits behind his desk. He’s a friendly chap but is usually too absorbed in his own book to take note of me, as I sit on the warm floor, surrounded by books. (It’d be the perfect job, wouldn’t it? Getting paid to sit in a room with thousands of books. Ahh.)

What I like most about Mr Old Books is how every well-thumbed book has been previously possessed by a complete stranger (I once found a train ticket stub to Haymarket, Scotland in one, probably used as a bookmark by the previous owner!!) I guess it just makes me feel like I’m part of a much greater universe.

Sometimes I’m just really grateful for books because they literally make you forget your worries and care about some fictional character’s instead. You just become so involved in the story, it’s like you’re Harry Potter in HP and The Chamber of Secrets when Voldemort takes him into the past and no one can see or hear him. That’s what it’s like. In my head at least. (I swear I don’t do LSD)

One of my favourite poems

Continuum

by Allen Curnow

The moon rolls over the roof and falls behind

my house, and the moon does neither of these things,

I am talking about myself.

It’s not possible to get off to sleep or

the subject or the planet, nor to think thoughts.

Better barefoot it out the front

door and lean from the porch across the privets

and the palms into the washed-out creation,

a dark place with two particular

bright clouds dusted (query) by the moon, one’s mine

the other’s an adversary, which may depend

on the wind, or something.

A long moment stretches, the next one is not

on time. Not unaccountably the chill of

the planking underfoot rises.

in the throat, for it’s part the night sky empties

the whole of it’s contents down. Turn on a bare

heel, close the door behind

on the author, cringing demiurge, who picks up

his litter and his tools and paces me back

to bed, stealthily in step.