My car radio has a scan button. When I listen to the radio in the car, I use that button, which presents short samplings of all the stations it can find. Once I start the scan, it keeps going and going, until I press “scan” again to stop it.
Yesterday morning, driving in to work, I realized I wanted something more nourishing than those scan-generated, quickly rotating sound-bites. So when the scan found some jazz on WHRB-FM (95.3), I pressed the scan button again, to stay with that station.
Then, the scan button in my mind got pressed. That is, my brain flitted from thought to thought to many more. My mind scan went all over (as it usually does), to different times and locations, including:
- anticipation about seeing my friend, Krystal, whom I met at my previous job and who now lives in California,
- hopes about the future,
- worries about the future,
- nostalgia about the past
… and many other places.
I can tune out the external world when my mind is wondering and wandering within, so I became deaf to all the sounds from the radio, despite my resolve to be more connected to the music there.
Then, my attention was firmly captured by a nostalgic and familiar tune: Pat Metheny’s “Song for Bilbao.” performed by the late Michael Brecker and by Pat Metheny (among other fine musicians).
Here’s the version I know by heart, which was playing on my then-non-scanning radio, yesterday:
(YouTube video found here)
Here’s a live version, from YouTube:
After hearing that old, familiar song, I thought about the meanings of “scan.”
I considered how I scan my environment, whenever I’m awake, searching for:
- what’s missing,
- surprises, and
… among other things.
My automatic, mindful, and unconscious scans of the external world can produce the photos I show you in this blog, like these from yesterday:
That last photo, above, is my last scan ever of the tree out back, which is coming down today. As a matter of fact, I need to move my car — with its radio and its scan button (among other controls) — very soon, to leave room for the tree-removal experts.
Before I end this post, though, I wanted to say that today, September 9, is my late father’s birthday.
After 17 years of his being gone, I believe I’ve stopped scanning the environment for his familiar presence. However, I still miss him. So, to honor the day of his birth, here’s a Gershwin song he sang to my late mother at a milestone anniversary celebration. I remember scanning the many people there that day, with my eyes and my heart.
(YouTube video of Sinatra singing “Love is Here to Stay” found here)
Many thanks to my father and my mother; to Krystal (for lunch yesterday and other gifts); to Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Frank Sinatra, and other musicians gracing my blog today; to those I’ve loved who are and are not still here in my world; to trees and other things that give shelter; to the various controls in my car; and to you — of course! — for scanning this post, today.