Sunday Morning


From the stillness around you a high glassy sound descends, like first light. Each new sound seems to breathe — emerging from and receding back into the stillness — and the glint of bells, like desert plants, here and there. Almost imperceptibly the music swells and continues falling in pitch. From somewhere above — like a gleam of metal, like sunlight emerging from behind a ridgeline — comes the sound of flutes. You are in a strange landscape. You don’t know how to read the weather or the light. You are unsure how long you will be here, or how challenging the journey may be. “This is beautiful,” you think. “But will anything ever happen?”

You resist. Yet the sound draws you in. You resolve to suspend your impatience, to listen as carefully as you can, as if watching a sunrise. You notice your breathing becoming slower. Falling, still falling…The music continues floating upward, growing more and more distant, until at last it dissolves into a deep and resonant stillness.

~ John Luther Adams, from “What It’s Like to Hear the Desert in Music” in   The New York Times, March 23, 2018)

Photo: saoud with Desert


  1. It echoes in the bones…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I was transported by this passage alone. Can only imagine what it’s like to hear these crystalline notes in person… Thanks for easing me into my Sunday morning, pal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. finding perfect balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I love the stillness of a gray, rainy Sunday morning … any early morning at that!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I felt drawn in and lulled and I can’t even hear the music 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Words brings in feelings so much that it’s incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christie says:

    for eons music has been enchantingly alluring, resonating, elevating …every element has a vibration & ultra violet color some outside of our range of conscious perception that speaks to us… we are alive, the earth is alive, each breath is alive and in the moment of discovery we are gifted with stillness, we awake…and I wait for the day when the great trumpets blow…calling…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christie says:

    Thank you…and I should have said “we awake to the beauty”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. To me, this seemed to be what death might be—beautiful music not quite discerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dave, I thought you’d like to know about this rare opportunity to hear a John Luther Adams work in NYC:

    In the Name of the Earth (World premiere)
    Saturday, August 11, 2018 at 3:00 pm
    Harlem Meer, Central Park
    Celebrate our planet and our community in this world premiere choral work by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer John Luther Adams.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Excellent, and it’s the same in meditation – or Adams *describes* meditation (without meaning to?). “This is beautiful,” you think. “But will anything ever happen?” SO key, because this is what restricts humans severely. The wanting … lights! camera! Action! When still we yearn for peace. But peace can only be attained in the interstices, which Adams yet describes in this delicious offering.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What beautiful writing. I love that these lines are poetic and took me into an experience of desert music.

    Liked by 1 person

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