When I graduated high school in 2008, my parents wanted to know what to get me: I said (with no endorsement) I wanted an iPod. The allure of Apple (and their overpriced potential) were not what drew me to this decision; but instead it was the possibility of being able to take with me anywhere what I’m most thankful for today.
For as long as I can remember, I have listened to and loved music. I fondly recall when I was much younger, perhaps five or six, when my older siblings and I would sing along with the songs on the radio while riding in the car. I remember when I was slightly older, perhaps nine or ten, when I would record on cassette tapes my favorite songs and listen to Disney classics all the time. I remember my first CD player (a Walkman) and my first CD (Enya’s “A Day Without Rain”), the latter of which was a birthday present from my older brother.
Some of my fondest memories possess little meaning to others: I imagine if those moments had been observed, they wouldn’t begin to see the fantastic excitement they gave me. While my mom served as my synagogue’s kitchen manager (about from the time I was eleven to around when I turned thirteen), we often spent days on end in my synagogue. I would spend most of my time reading or doing schoolwork or playing my Game Boy, but the rest of the time I spent pacing. (As I said, to observers, it mustn’t have seemed like much.) Yet as I paced, I played my favorite music–Enya, Jewel, Lisa Loeb, and Evanescence, among others–and while I immersed myself in their lyrics, in their melodies, in their rhythms and souls, I found myself transported to other worlds–worlds of my own creation, my own imagination, worlds I still dream of one day writing down and sharing the wonders I’ve found in them.
Music has been my life. I can barely play the only instrument I can manage (an ocarina, for those who wonder), and musical theory baffles me, like calculus baffles others, and if I sing in the presence of others, I have no doubt I’m off-key and out of tune. Yet I still love music. For years, music has only been available at home, since financial struggles around the time of my graduation prevented me from being able to get my MP3 player then.
Well, at long last, I finally got my iPod–this past Wednesday, in fact.
I found myself worrying for a while, right after I placed the order while it had yet to arrive, that my hopes for an MP3 player were overestimated and I’d find no use in having it once I got it. After all, I told myself, I love the sound of silence, of the world, of the wind, of nature and all things around me. But once I had it in my hands, once I could take with me all the music I hold inside–as soon as a song came to mind, I could play it, and hearing it, truly hearing it and not merely fighting my memory to recall the whole thing–such became a living soundtrack, and instead of overriding my love of natural sounds, it became a symphony to which all other sounds became a part.
I spent about half an hour deciding what to name my iPod when iTunes prompted me to do so. “Darren’s iPod” seemed so superficial, shallow and meaningless…. So like whenever I’m looking for a name, I exploited two very familiar resources: the dictionary and baby naming websites. I finally named my iPod Uri, which is a Hebrew name meaning “my flame,” and truly it radiates the depth of admiration I have for music–it is my passion, my emotion, my flame.
And to carry that with me wherever I go? I could never be thankful enough for that–to be able to have this technology, this opportunity, to hear it at all. Music is wondrous and breathtaking. Nothing else can compare.