An Abundance of Potions

Day 22 – Two Rhythms

Good morning to all 231 readers. Welcome to Week 4. The snow in the metaphorical snow globe is starting to settle; other projects, many of them outdoors, are calling. As such, this will to be the last full week of our pop-up newsletter. Whether I'll stop at 28 days or 30 is still up in the air. We'll see. Thank you, as always, for following along. —Jack

Today's challenge: Listen to comforting music.

A pianist and a saxophone player riffing off of each other from neighboring apartment balconies. A drummer banging away in an attic on an otherwise quiet street. Multiple generations of family singing "Happy Birthday" to an 95-year-old grandmother from the end of her driveway. Musicians, in one city, going live on Facebook every night at 10pm, to sing lullabies.

Music is so universal that it becomes intimately personal. To some, it's an affordable method of time travel and teleportation. David Byrne describes it, in How Music Works, as a social glue, a self-empowering change agent. To you, it could mean another thing entirely. Music is something you yourself make without even trying—each living human carries with them two rhythms: the heart and the breath.

Last week I requested comforting music. You responded with your songs—in some cases ones you'd had a hand in making. What was apparent from your replies was that comfort came in many forms. Sometimes music was a counterbalance, intended to ground and soothe. Other times you looked for resonance, something that matched your somber mood and signaled understanding—that you weren't alone in how you felt—like the best break-up songs. Still other times, comfort meant catharsis—meant, as one of you described, "pirate music."

I've put together a playlist of all your songs, and added a couple of my own. You can listen to it here:

And later today, if you haven't already, you can put together your own.