Beltane Waning Flower Moon
Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Kate and I went out to the Jazz Corner tonight. We listened to the Earl Williams Blues Band. They were excellent musicians. Earl played New Orleans most of his life and his patter, his stage presence made us laugh, drew us into his songs.
He happened to meet Kate and me at the door. He introduced himself, “I’ll be playing the music tonight.” I asked him what he played and he gave a list of instruments not all of which I recognized. I knew the saxophone(s), the harmonica, but the occa and others I had not heard.
Near the end of the first set Earl turned to Kate and me, said, “I’d like to dedicate this next song to Katie and Charlie Ellis. From Minnesota. They drove all day just to be here tonight!” He then gave a credible imitation of Louis Armstrong singing his It’s a Wonderful World.
We had table for two against the wall, the furthest toward the front. At one point, engrossed in the music, following it with my heart, a realization popped into mind.
We were in a setting very similar to Max Beckman’s Blind Man’s Buff. In that tryptych, which hangs in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the center panel has a band playing in a cabaret setting. The side panels have cabaret patrons in various enigmatic poses.
Beckman said the band in the center are the gods playing. I imagine them playing the world into existence. We sat off to one side, in one of the panels. In that situation the other panel would have people far across the room from us. We listened to the same music, sat in the same cafe, but we could not communicate.
The world at the end of World War II had many people in the same cafe, listening to the same music and unable to communicate.