Retrospect Through Music

It wasn’t the first time that I had listened to that old CSN album with my dad, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. Driving I-25 that night with my brother, dad, and dogs with only a few other cars on the road, switching off their brights as we passed, reminded me of the large quantity of road trips I’ve been on. As we listened to a tattered Crosby, Stills, and Nash cassette tape that had been damaged from the numerous times it had been played over the years, on the many hunting trips we had taken, I began to retrospect over all the times we had spent together. I remembered all the small farming towns we drove through, where the tallest buildings where steel grain storage towers and also the many barbed wire fences we drove by, on the sides of the gravel county roads that seemed to stretch to the ends of the earth. I believe music is an important way for us to remember our past.

My father has always emphasized the importance of music in our lives and I have been fortunate enough to hear some of the greatest albums of our time because of my dad’s enviable classic rock music taste. Looking through the center console of our suburban has always been special for me because of the extensive collection of old tapes my dad has recorded over the years. He doesn’t believe in making tapes mixed with mismatched songs on them, instead he believes there is an importance to listening to an album all the way through.

I have only recently perceived this importance. Listening to an album all the way through can play with your emotions, making you feel comfortable in your own skin and alone at the same time, and by the end of the tape, you have taken an insightful journey. When I listen to a Crosby, Stills, and Nash album all the way through, I am brought back to the numerous hunting trips I have taken through emotional connections I’ve made. I remember my hands freezing on the cold steel of my 12 gauge shotgun during a cold, overcast, November day in the endless wheat fields in eastern Colorado thinking to myself that I would much rather be in a hot desert so I could feel my fingers again. Then the relief of finally making it back to the car and warming my fingers on the dusty heaters while listening to CSN’s album After The Storm over the decrepit car speakers. I remember shooting my first pheasant of the day and watching my dogs retrieve it, roaming free from the limited back yard space they have at home right after listening to Steven Stills soloing on his guitar for five minutes.

Music is an instrument that can be utilized to bring memories and feelings back that one would normally overlook and forget. I would never expect to be able to relive some of the hunting trips I’ve been on, but through the emotional connections I’ve developed with the music I’ve listened to during hunting trips, I can listen to an old CSN album and see the open wheat fields or feel the cold numb feeling through my hands. Even though that deathly cold feeling is the last thing I want to relive.
Joe N

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