“To Respond to Terror and Fear with Music and Laughter”

I struggle to find the words to express the sorrow, grief, pain, “whys,” and the fear that consumed so many of us this week, especially those of us living and working in Boston and its surrounding communities.

Jesse and I had lunch in Harvard today and discussed the value of metaphor in communication, including its place in the work of Edward O. Wilson, a theory on language explored in the Brain Science Podcast, How the Brain Makes Meaning, that Jesse had listened to, and Plato’s analogy between a city and the individual in his Republic. So maybe the clearest and most succinct way to express my experience of this week is the following:

Myself, my friends, my community was being pulled like a rubber band to our limits, and Friday at sundown, the rubber band could have snapped. But instead, after a couple hours, the tension was eased. For some, the rubber band flew – elation, celebration. For others, it was  a floating sigh of relief. For still more, the rubber band was just slightly less stretched, saved from snapping, but still uneasy.

Saturday was a beautiful new day. And immediately outside the T station in Harvard Square, I found Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band stretching the smiles of passersby. A regular organizer of Somerville’s HONK! Festival, the band combines their love of music with passion for social activism. I wish I had continued filming after the song below to catch one of the band members telling the crowd that they were out today “to respond to terror and fear with music and laughter.” He added, “Enjoy this beautiful day outside – we’ve earned it!” Below are some more photographs of the band’s performance.

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