The Intimacy of Radio

Apr 30, 2019

Radio is magic.  If you are listening to these words you most likely agree.  But why?  Why is radio such a magical medium?  It may have something to do with the fact that you must bring more of yourself to it: unlike television, there is no picture.  So you must lean in, fill in the blanks with your own imagery, and consequently become more invested in it.  The voices of our favorite radio personalities become so familiar to us.  We live in their folds and crevices, their lilts and slight accents, and feel we know them. 

I depend on your imagery too, when I deliver these pieces for the Cape Cod Notebook.  I have always been interested in the natural world and usually that is what I write about.  But writing about nature is something of a challenge.  You have the same sky, the same sea, the same sand, the same bird/whale/flower/tree. 

The truth is that most of what we think and what we feel- especially what we feel- is beyond- or more properly, beneath- language.  When we attempt to explain or describe a phenomenon, words simply get in the way.  The deeper and more profound the experience the greater the deficit.  Overcoming this is a joint effort, writer and reader- or listener. 

I was musing about this earlier this morning, walking on the beach with my dog Dory.  It was a steel gray day trying to be blue.  No wind.  Suddenly, out of the sky three Brant descended, side by side, plummeting out of the grayness towards the water.  About twenty feet above the surface they simultaneously let down their landing gear and together glided so smoothly and so effortlessly into the calm water that they hardly made a ripple.  Then they swam around, acting like geese, acting like they had done nothing extraordinary- which they had.  And right in front of me.

Wow.  If I convey (from the Latin…to escort…along a way) this event to you- even a particle of it- that is my motivation.  If, leaning in, you can see it with me.  If I encourage you to go out into the natural world and find your own event- that is my motivation.  Bertrand Russel said: “The world is full of magical things waiting patiently for our wits to grow sharper.” 

There is a lot of magic out there.  Sometimes on the radio.