Friday, September 22, 2023

Reflecting On Time

With Dwight Yoakam at the Jim Henson Recording Studios

It has been an interesting week that has given me pause to reflect on how best to use every minute of each day. On Monday evening  I was practicing my harmonica with the Cross Eyed Boys, the band who play for Men Of The Word, Brad Klassen's Bible study that meets on Wednesday evenings at Grace Community Church. On Tuesday I was out at The Masters University in the laboratory as an Adjunct Professor teaching anatomy to a score of Biology students.  We were focusing on the axial skeleton, one of my favourite subjects, and especially the skull. I took the oportunity to bring is a brilliant dissection so that they could all see the teeth and the ossicles.  At luncheon in the Mustang Grill I met Ken Mays again who kindly gave me his new CD of his collection of his jazzy arrangements of Christmas music. Ken has retired and the collection represents a life of devotion to music and teaching it.

See Below - Death's Castle

Now on Wednesday I was in Practice at my new professional home with Dr Eric Donaty DMD on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. What a joy to interact and work with this Tufts-trained master of his craft. I have occasion to reflect on my first landing in America at Logan Airport on an exchange scholarship to Tufts in 1972. 

On Wendesday evening I played with the band, and before the formal instruction on Ecclesiastes, "Life Outside The Garden", Dr. Klassen brought Brian Jolley up and asked us to pray for him as he has been diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Perhaps you will also offer up a prayer. None of know when we will be called, and how quickly our pursuits will be forgotten.

Dr Brad prays for Brian

Now on Thursday I was back in practice and received an invitation to watch an album being recorded. After many month of concerts and recordings Dwight Yoakam is putting the finishing touches to his new Country album, and I was able to actually enter the lot that I have known only to drive by for many years as "A and M Records" which then still bore the statue of Charlie Chaplin the studio's founder, but now has Kermit the Frog as an effigy of Chaplin. The studios are amazing, and we were in the same space where the Carpenters and Carole King had made their recordings, as back up vocals were being laid down for what promises to be a hit album. Dwight is having his dreams come true as he polishes up his gifts with this blessed comeback. I pray I can use my time as well.

Here is a reflection you may enjoy:

 Death’s Castle

I had this architectural evaluation of the skull published in the Guy's Hospital Gazette. Poets abounded at Guy's.  After all, Keats was a medical student there.

Dusty chinks, caverns and pale walls,

Life once enclosed has gone from your halls,

And now below parapets pitted and brown

Hollow blank crypts are staring down.

By flying buttresses they are shored

Their socketed senses now are flawed.

Unsealed vault and arching dome

Where frail haunting spirits roam,

Thy bleached facade's a reminder grim

Death's mask to our kith and kin.

Cold afront horrid to behold,

Yet no horror in the thin walls old,

For silence lurks behind the pall

The mark of time now past recall.

Men shelter their brows at your ghastly sight,

Their eyes are sightless, blind, not bright,

They see not the words by the temple light.

And speaking not of their chiefest dread,

Their tongues are lost in a damp, mute bed,

By the falsehood of unspoken words they're led.

Turning their heads they hear not the song,

Their muffled ears deaf to the gong,

Unhearing their pitiful state they prolong.

Their chosen deception filtering out,

The musk of spoor-odor you leave about,

And all life's sweet perfumes they know not to doubt.

I have it now, sight, sound and all,

Dull smell of relapse in the room where you fall.

Now halted life's kernel, a once bitter taste,

No longer strikes chords of fear and waste.

My eyes, not blind, have shown me the path,

A new mind accepting your wrath.

Low barred dungeon whose stone is rolled,

The secrets of wisdom for us now unfold.

Soft whispers of truth which fill the air

Mask the trumpeter sounding there.

The crunch of the marching step is dull,

All is seen, I gaze on the skull.