“Music is the silence between the notes.” Claude Debussy
The tour guide at 3614 Jackson Highway explained how a group of Japanese people, hardly understanding a word the entire tour, suddenly broke out in song to the music, uniting everyone in the room. It was our second tour of the morning, the first being Fame studios. Yes, I am talking about Muscle Shoals, Alabama. We stayed at GunRunner in the room called Devil’s Backbone. Muscle Shoals is the home of the Swampers, Rick Hall, & countless amazing musicians conveying the soul of this jewel of a place through their music. It is a place where black and white came together long ago to create harmonies that have influenced this world over and over, even all the way to Japan. It is a place that reminds us that the silence between our notes is just as important as the notes. It reminds me over and over to be thoughtful about my own silence. What do I do with my silence? I can use my voice to stand against evil but am I also using my silence the same way? Do I smile in my silence to the beggar I am passing on the Chicago walkway? Do I step forward to pick up the money for the older woman who didn’t even realize the money had fallen? Do I acknowledge the children all around me with my quick little wave so they know they are not invisible. Muscle Shoals reminds us that music can be created but it’s even more beautiful because of the intertwinement of so many different people even when the music wasn’t being played.