A fortnight ago I had my 70th birthday. Surely some birthdays are bigger milestones than others however this one seemed to take on an almost supernatural significance as if the number 7 that defined the number of decades marked the beginning of a new age of wisdom and spirituality. In fact I just did a quick Google search which revealed this entry on a numerology blog at the top of the heap…
Number 7 resonates with the vibrations and energies of the ‘Collective Consciousness’, faith and spirituality, spiritual awakening and awareness, spiritual enlightenment, spiritual development, mysticism, intuition and inner-knowing, inner-wisdom, psychic abilities, the esoteric, inner-selves, deep contemplation, introspection, eccentric, religion, thoughtfulness, understanding of others, natural healer and healing, secrets, myth, ritual, peace, poise, emotions and feelings, inner-strength, endurance and perserverance, persistence of purpose, the ability to bear hardships, quick-wit, the loner, solitary, isolation, long-sighted, the non-conformist, independence and individualism, intentions, manifesting and manifestation in time and space and good fortune.
Being very careful not to cross the line into self aggrandizement, pieces of the above do fit rather well although an equal amount need lots of work. At any rate, one tends to engage in a lot of fore thought, after thought, life examination and rumination (c.f. Jazz Album of the same name. 😉 )
In celebration of the day, Dotty sent out an email to many of my friends requesting that they each send a birthday card with an inscription describing “a special moment with Arni.” Well respond they did and on my birthday plus a day or two preceeding and several days afterwards I received a total of about fifty cards, each with a loving message inside. To this date they are carefully arranged on our kitchen island as a garden of love and friendship that I must have planted over time with seeds of kindness and compassion.
However, that wasn’t all by any means. My Facebook timeline lit up more than twenty five times with comments and posts from a host of others near and far. Alison Barnett wrote a delightful article in the South End News headlined “Arni Turns 70” and thus permanently ending any chance that I could tell any fibs about my age in this neighborhood. All of which reminded me that I have a responsibility to truly carry myself in a manner respectful of all the love and esteem of my peers.
Which brings to mind the expression “Just when you think you’ve seen everything…” Several individuals really transcended the normal and the extraordinarily. A few days after the natal day I received two poems penned especially for me One from Fred Harris Jr., the fantabulous conductor/instructor in the MIT Music Department (please click the link) and the second was from Ms. Jackie McRath a good friend and a powerful behind the scenes force in the New England artists community. My response after reading each one was the same. I was at a loss for words to express how honored I feel for these friends to take time and invest creative energy in honor of the humble life I try to live. In thanks, I’d like to share these two poems with you. After reading them both, know well that I have a tall order to live up to.Arni’s Light
In honor of his 70th birthday, August 14, 2014 A fire of music
ignited by visual gifts and a fecund
imagination Arni steps in a room
We hear his spirit
We feel his music
We sing his sounds
We see what he sees His tone
in voice and in instrument
Sounds of meaning
Photos of depth
Words of peace
A face of joy
Beaming with the best life offers us -love, fred
He the brown-skinned man
with red frames that flame kool.
Hear the brown skinned man
play on his horn till the night’s morn.
Listen to the sax as his sounds
draw the max from his horn,
Him the brown skinned man! He the brown-skinned man
with the serious smile that
takes him to crowds and schools.
Listen to him blow his deep dark sounds
Aardvark and Makanda are what he digs
Him the brown skinned man, Jazz Heroes 2012
listen to how he delves. He shoots with the sharpest eye too
his passion for bird, fowl and goose.
Spy him on damp sand
wetting his chest, gut and limbs.
Aiming for shots that capture
bringing us up close – beauty more to understand
He/him the brown-skinned man. 1st draft J. L. McRath 08/12/14