Mike Bland

Early Thoughts on the Aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings

After the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, I consider my good fortune and the suffering of others, and reaffirm my dedication to music

- Boston
Tags: Berklee, music, philosophy

The weather here in Boston has been pretty glorious the past few days, after such a long, cold, lonely winter—well, it hasn’t been totally lonely—but obviously the present circumstances are not quite as pleasant. The Boston Marathon bombings happened maybe half a mile from the main Berklee buildings—even less for at least a couple of them—but school was closed because of the Marathon traffic anyway, so I was home working on my taxes all day, several miles away. I wasn’t checking the news, so the first I’d heard was when I’d just finished stuffing all the tax form envelopes and my Mom called to ask if I was OK. Berklee’s within the investigation radius, so it was closed yesterday, and is closed again today.

You’d think I’d get ahead on studying, practicing, and projects with all this extra time, but I was working out all my class registration planning for summer and fall (and potentially all future semesters) nearly all Saturday and Sunday, doing taxes all day Monday, and just generally saddened and distracted by the bombings since Monday afternoon. Only today do I feel like I’m getting back into a proper rhythm. But I can’t help but think of how some folks’ “normal rhythm” will be forever changed, and how purely lucky I was not to be down there. Hell, I’d only just walked past the finish line and the bleachers Friday evening. I haven’t been back down there since, and kinda don’t want to, since I want to remember it how it was, rather than how I’ve been seeing it on the news.

Despite my mild sense of guilt that I get to resume a “normal rhythm” while so many others can’t, when I think about why I’m here doing what I’m doing—music, of all potential pursuits, given my good fortune, good health, intellect, education, etc.—I’m actually more determined that this is the right thing for me to do. Some people live their lives to wreak senseless havoc on strangers, living out some warped, ideology-fueled fantasy of power and wrath, appointing themselves administrators of self-righteous justice on lesser, “evil” human beings that all deserve punishment, suffering and death. Some, like me, are trying to live their lives to bring a sense of connection and joy and beauty to others, so that we all seem a little less like strangers and more like fellow companions on the same exciting journey, to celebrate differences rather than fear and condemn them. I’m not so sure I’ll personally succeed in achieving such a high-minded goal with my own art, but I believe it’s a worthy pursuit, still.