It’s very early morning.  By all measures, I should be asleep, but I find myself writing  instead.  The house is utterly silent except for the clicking of my keyboard keys, my fellow occupants either asleep or quiet in their wakefulness.  The driving winds and rain of the past 24 hours have either abated or been reduced to audible insignificance.  It’s too dark to look out the window to determine which might be the case.  The only means of doing so would be to rise from my chair, go downstairs, and open our front door to the cold night air.  My desire to do so is far outweighed by my wish to remain in this chair, warmly swaddled by the subdued library lights, by this midnight hour’s mood.

by rights, there ought to be a jazz quartet playing softly in the background.  This is not a moment for the vocalists I usually prefer.  Its jazz should be sweet, low, and intricate. certainly piano, bass, and drums. And, perhaps, a vibraphone.  Definitely a vibraphone for melody, for lazy syncopation with the heartbeat of this profound silence.  Playing something gentle, something slow, something such as ‘Round Midnight.  Perhaps Milt Jackson and the Modern Jazz Quartet would do.

Or, perhaps, the quartet might play a simpler piece, something more haunting and suitable for the midnight hours.  Perhaps Erik Satie’s Gymnopaedie No. 1.  It would be perfect in spirit – classical, yeti jazzy enough – but tool restrained for the early morning if played only as the haunting piano recital pieced Satie composed.  Perhaps, instead, a version played by a clarinet, piano, drums, and guitar.  A quartet led by someone like Eddie Daniels.

But if a quartet is not to be found, perhaps a consummate solo jazz pianist would suffice.  Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett, perhaps.  As much as I like Oscar Peterson, his grunting would disturb this mood.  I can imagine myself going downstairs to find my copy of Jarrett’s The Melody At Night, With You, and returning to put it in my portable CD player.  I can see myself settling down with it and with a new book from my shelves, my last book read to conclusion before last evening’s bedtime and now safely re-shelved.

I could use my headphones so that those asleep within remain undisturbed.

Perhaps that’s what I will do.  It’s been awhile since I last listened to the album –  far too long in fact.  And I need a good reason to get out of this chair: a reason that will encourage, rather than destroy, this mood; a reason to enhance the magic of these hours.

Yes, perhaps I just may.

(And so I did.)

About Gavin Stevens

Humptulips County is the wholly fictional on-line residence of Stephen Ellis, a would-be writer, an avid fan of William Faulkner and his Yoknapatawpha County, and a retired lawyer.
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