Saturday, June 11, 2011

Melancholy, a Slow New Dawn

Melancholy literally mean "black bile" and once it was considered a malady. But then, seeking recourse from the tumultuous world left behind by Henry VIII and his peers, a young Elizabethan man, John Dowland, picked up the lute and forever transformed its meaning. Out of all that religious discord and sadness in the 16'th and 17'th century grew beauty. Not a beauty that denied sadness, but that was mindful of its presence without succumbing to complete despair.

Most of us who have suffered death, loss and adversity, which eventually and inevitably is everyone, know how suffocating sorrow can be. Trying to ignore it is useless. It can worsen the condition until there seems to be no way to escape. By instead being mindful and pensive of the hurt, we can gradually build something useful and inspiring in all that darkness. We mourn, slowly summoning a new dawn. This is melancholy in its positive expression.

As Mark Oliver Everett experienced it many centuries later....

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