The Finest Music


There is an old Celtic myth regarding Fionn Mac Cumhail, the hunter and warrior who’d eaten the Salmon of Knowledge when he was a boy. He was sitting with his followers, the Fianna, one day, listening to their earnest discussion about what they believed to be the world’s finest music.


One said it was the call of the mourning dove at dawn; another the baying of hounds in hunt; still others said, no, it’s the laughter of a child, or the sigh of a lover, or the rush of wind across the sea.


Finally, they turned the question over to their leader and asked for his response. Fionn considered in silence and then replied, with a customary enigmatic smile, “The finest music in the world is the music of what happens.”


I’ve been carrying that story in my heart the past few weeks, along with Seamus Heaney’s comment that in creating his poems he tried to “stay close to the energies of generation.” Both Fionn and Seamus seem to be inviting us to bring a focused awareness to the present moment, nothing new in wisdom literature, but stated in ways that caught my attention and pleased me, so both “listen to the music of what’s happening,” and, “stay close to the energies of generation” have become new mantras throughout my days.


I was reminded of the old question, “Do you want to be a human doing or a human being?” Accomplishing tasks and reaching goals show we’re using our gifts, and hopefully, to help the earth and her creatures survive another turn with kindness, creativity, gentleness, and humor, but we can sometimes “do” without pause, as a distraction from just being, and miss hearing the finest music of our lives.


Considering events as the music of what happens keeps me from judging them too quickly or labeling them as good or bad. It’s much more peaceful and pleasing to listen for the music they create, and how these chords fit into the established melodies of my day and life.


I’ve taken a new job, working with seniors at a large facility a far distance from home. I love the people, the place, and the work, but was hesitant, initially, because saying yes meant crating the pups three days a week. (The job is just 28 hours a week, at this time.) Up to now, they’ve only been crated for a nap during the day and at night, for sleep. We were both very concerned about the pups spending long work days so confined.


But I listened for the music and focused on discovering the best possible outcome.

A dear friend gave me the number of the woman who provides dog-walking services for her. I contacted Jill, who came and met with the pups and me, and we were all smitten with her energy and spirit. She is enthusiastic about visiting Mickey and Malarky at midday, and taking them for a walk, so that has eased my heart greatly.


The damage from the roof leak I spoke of in the last post will require extensive remodeling: a new roof, some drywall repair, ceiling work, and perhaps some roof beams will need replacement. We decided to forego replacing the skylights that led to the leak, and I’ll miss the added indoor light they provided, but I’m going with lighter paint colors in the rooms, and that will make a difference. Thankfully, our insurance will help pay for all of this, and Phillip can do a lot of the work. And we wanted to update those two rooms (the dining room and kitchen) anyway. So, what began as something akin to discordant crashing and banging has been untangled and quite nicely woven into the music of what happens.


 St. Clare of Assisi is reported to have said, right before she died, “Thank you for letting me be a human being.” So often, we go through life pinning joy to “someday, not this, not yet,” waiting for all of our expectations of the way life “should be” to simultaneously occur, fall into place, and remain perfect from then forward. Yet, all the while, the finest music, the symphony created right here and now, where the energies of generation in our own once-in-a-lifetime human life are happening, is being played.


So, let us attend, listen to, and love the music of what happens, my friends, and be grateful for every note: the sweet, the sour, the out of tune, and the surprising grace notes flitting through all.


Blessings on your week and the music of what happens.



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7 thoughts on “The Finest Music

  1. What an inspiring post! I needed to read this today, yes, the music of what happens, for better or worse! Your pictures are simply beautiful, I am totally amazed at the size of Micky, he looks the same size as Malarky now, who knew that tiny boy could grow so big???
    I’m glad you have a dog walker, that should break their day up nicely. Good luck with the new job, go easy though and look after your poor foot, if only we were neighbours, how easy life would be! Good luck with all the building work too, it’s good to know that some good has come out of it


  2. Oh, Dina! I’ve thought of you so often these past few weeks and imagined how lovely it would be if we lived near each other…Micky and ‘Larky would love it, too! The Mick is growing, still, I think. He isn’t as big as Malarky, but he’s getting there. They are such pals. I hate being apart from them, even these few days a week, but I’m so relieved they’ll get a break and some extra love. The foot’s coming along. It’ll just take time, but will probably be helped by all the walking I’ll do at work: it’s a big facility! 🙂 We’re enjoying this week together very much; finally, a bit of autumn has visited, but we still have mosquitoes plaguing our walks; can you believe it? There’s a bit of music we could do without! Sending love your way, xxoo, Kitty


  3. How lovely that you think of me, I often find myself thinking of you too…I think, as now even scientists agree, that eventually energy becomes matter, and vice versa, so we hook up in reality….somehow….I feel like I know you all in reality, and there’s nothing odd about it, just all meant to be!!xxx


    1. I agree, entirely. In my heart, we’ve shared many walks, and talks, and laughs, and a few beverages. 🙂 It would be fun to be together in person, but yes, I think we know each other and it was meant to be. One of my friends says it’s like being sisters from different mothers. 🙂


  4. Kitty, such a beautiful and thoughtful post, and of course the metaphor of life as music always has deep meaning for me. I try to arrange my schedule around being with Angel as much as possible, so I understand your efforts to find someone to care for your pups – it seems you found the right person for those cuties! The scenes of your world are so beautiful – peaceful, lovely, and magical -I’ve scrolled through them again and again. I will embrace your practice of regarding events as “the music of what happens” – thank you as always for sharing your wisdom.


  5. I’m so glad you can be with Angel, Lynn! Thank you for your visit and kind words. I hope the new school year is going well for you, too; it’s passing so quickly, it seems! Yikes. I was just looking up the dates for the local Christmas markets and they’re coming sooner than I expected. My roses and mums are still blooming! 🙂


  6. HI Kitty, I am always so glad when you stop by and like or comment on one of my posts. I wish you were still posting, but I like that WordPress offers me some things “I might like to look at” when you like one of mine. The above post is just magnificent – writing and photos and Celtic lore, all. You are a gift.


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