The incredible insignificance of (one’s) being

Puget Sound from Gig Harbor

Occasionally, but, fortunately, not too often, one experiences something that reminds one of the fact that they are quite insignificant in the overall scheme of things. This evening I had such an experience, when I attended a performance of J. S. Bach's Art of Fugue at Christ Church, Tacoma, given by organist Dana Robinson and harpsichordist Charlotte Mattax Moersch. The music was so profound that I found it overwhelming, rather than uplifting. How could a man in his last years write such brilliantly technical, yet totally engrossing music? And where does his brilliance leave the rest of us who call ourselves musicians? How does one compose a fugue using such compositional devices as “altered theme and inverted altered theme with third and fourth countersubjects and their inversions, mirror inversion of the altered theme, counterpoint at the octave” (movement 11)? These things passed through my mind as I listened to the intricate counterpoint. The performance was superb in every aspect. Two fine players utilizing beautiful instruments, in total control of their respective movements, in a very favorable acoustic setting. Of course I enjoyed the concert immensely, but must admit to feeling a good deal humbler upon leaving the church than when I entered. Photos of the church after the concert:

And what of we humbler musicians and our daily struggle with “the business?” I, for one, have been busy. This week I have been practicing daily on the organ at Chapel Presbyterian Church, Gig Harbor. I have mentioned the organ in a previous post, but it is a pleasure to play and listen to. It is a largish organ in American Romantic style, the core of which of a 1910 Hook & Hastings instrument. I have 'been volunteered' to accompany the choir, play the hymns and the prelude and postlude this Sunday. If you are wandering around Gig Harbor Sunday morning, drop in for the 9:00 service – I will be manning the console.


I have been commuting to the church on foot whenever possible. The route is about three miles, and begins in my own backyard. I leave from the back of the house into the forest, enjoying these woodland trails before hitting local roads:

the effects of the daily rains can be seen everywhere in the moss and black-water ponds:

not to mention roadside puddles:

and views of a dream homes across the rainy harbor:

Local birds and squirrels, as well as other lifeforms ignore the weather:

Western Washington State (Seattle and environs) has a dark beauty that is intensified by the daily rains. Once one discovers that they will not melt in the moisture, long walks in the mist become enjoyable. This might be my biggest discovery during my sojurn in rainy Seattle.


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