For me this week was filled with a lot of high and low notes, which all seemed overwhelming until I heard the blues music playing at the Martinez Farmers Market, then my week had meaning. After church on Sunday I stopped by the downtown Starbucks for a coffee and the Farmer’s Market was right there on Main Street. It started this month and runs from 10:00am until 2:00pm on Sundays.The sun was out, for a change, and there was a nice breeze blowing, the smell of Kettle Corn filled the air, and the sweet sound of blues music. “This Old Band” was playing their Rhythm and Blues music. Listening to somber cords on the guitar, and high notes on the violin gave me the music that I’d been looking to find all week. They sounded good.
On Tuesday at my apartment complex I saw 2 of the 3 kittens of the youngest stray cat that lives there. I wanted to stop and look at these little gray puff-balls climbing through the blond grasses, but I was late for work. I haven’t seen them since. Then there was word that I’m one of the candidates for a job I applied for, then there is all the work I have at my current job that I can hardly imagine ever finishing, and word that I’d have to finish it all, even if I got a new job. It was too many highs and lows, but no music to hold it all together, until today.
Amidst the blues music and the sounds of the crowd, I bought candy coated nuts from Get Nuts. Have you ever toasted pine nuts until they are golden brown? The smell is buttery and sweet. These nuts smelled like that too: walnuts, cashews, almonds and peanuts toasted and coated in sweet sugar. The nuts look a little like notes: A peanut a whole note, a cashew a base cleft, a walnut… very tasty. Although they are candy coated, they aren’t too sweet and they tasted satisfying and earthy.
It was a good vibe being out in the downtown, Alhambra Creek clear after all the rains, the birds flickering by, people with their adorable, happy dogs carrying bags of organic radishes and tomatoes. I stopped and bought some strawberries at one stand, and a blueberry tart from “Sugar and Spice” in Pinole. She gave me a taste of her lemon tart and I’m going back for that next week. The blueberry tart (perfect for two) has a creamy almond flavored custard in a cookie crust with fresh blueberries on top that are lightly glazed. The tart was not only beautiful, but delicious. She had brownies and red velvet cupcakes too, just writing that makes me happy.
With my bags of goodies I stopped in front of the creek to listen to the music. Slow, sad, but hopeful. They were playing something about being done wrong, but got a good song out of it. That’s the blues. A homeless guy asked me for a dollar. Sorry, I said. As I walked away he kept repeating “They send me to jail but they won’t give me a dollar...” Sad notes. I remember seeing on 60 minutes a long time ago a piece on a conductor who lost his wife of many years and he was asked how he managed to move on after that loss. He said something about how musicians have to hold each note and then let them go in order to make music, and he applied that to life too, hold on and let go. Listening to the blues music from “This Old Band”, enjoying the sunshine, my coffee, the smells of popped corn, the laughter of children, and the sights of the people I share this town with, I finally found music in my life for the first time this week and I didn’t want to let a single note go.