Friday Musings: Finding Cadence
When I was in high school I became obsessed with the idea of finding cadence in writing and speech. Just when you think you’ve heard it all from me, right? I know. And exactly what is cadence? Well, according to dictionary.com, it’s the rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words. For me, it’s a kind of harmony that I hear in the pattern of words, even when they are written, that feels very soothing to me. It’s almost as if the language falls away, even though it may be very beautiful, and my mind is able to better embrace the idea, or my heart feel the emotion, of what is behind the words. All the great writers have it, unless they are trying to be deliberately jarring. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing is one of the best examples.“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” That’s a line from The Great Gatsby. Can you hear the harmony? Can you feel the rhythm? In terms of speakers, I think Barack Obama is an absolute master at it. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is not. So once I had this idea in my head, I found myself looking to find cadence in everything I read, or in everything I listened to, and I attempted to create it in my own way of writing and speaking. It’s one of the reasons why these blogs posts take me as long as they do to write, and, if you really know me, then you know that I will repeat a sentence I’ve spoken if I don’t like the wording I used. I’m correcting my own cadence. My kids know this about me only too well. When they would bring me papers to read, I would often ask them, “Where is the cadence in this sentence??” It infuriated them, but they are all beautiful writers, and I have watched them all speak publicly at one point or another, and they do that well too. They have cadence.
Quite recently I’ve been thinking that we can also seek cadence in everyday life, in the form of an undercurrent that runs beneath the surface of things. Too often we allow the pace of our lives to determine that cadence, when we should, in fact, be setting it in a completely different way. We all require some sort of an emotional calibration that keeps us running smoothly. It’s along the lines of what happens with a car engine. Once you set the timing, you can rev it faster and faster, and it’ll perform exactly the way it’s supposed to. If our emotional calibration is off, then even a day spent in the most relaxing way possible will exhaust us, and leave us feeling completely depleted. How can we calibrate ourselves? It’s the same question I’ve asked a number of times before. What heals us? What are the things that start off our days with that sense of quiet and peace that will enable us not just to withstand what life sends in our direction, but to embrace it, and to do the things that need to be done in the best way possible? The answer will be different for all of us. It can be a daily ritual of gratitude or of setting intentions, an exercise class, a yoga practice, a certain prayer, or your morning coffee with the person you love. It can be a text exchange with someone who brings you an incredible sense of peace and joy. It can be as simple as what you eat for breakfast, or a few moments spent with your dog, or sitting down and writing a list of what you hope to accomplish that day. Whatever it is, we need to seek it, find it, and make it part of every morning. Will it solve every problem that we have? Of course not. But if we allow it to calibrate us so that we can hear and feel cadence, then it will bring us clarity and determination, and above all else, a sense of balance and harmony.
For today’s cocktail, I did something I’ve been wanting to try forever. I expanded the idea of a Penicillin cocktail so that it could be served in a Collins style glass. I kept the base of blended Scotch, lemon, and honey the same, but added Element’s pineapple turmeric shrub, and brought the ginger into the drink by topping it with a good ginger beer. I floated the Laphroaig on top because it simply would not be a Penicillin cocktail, in any variation, without that smoky float. I chose to go in this direction because all the components in this drink reflect the idea of seeking calmness, comfort, and balance. Turmeric heals inflammation, as does ginger. Honey is incredibly soothing, and along with lemon, conjures up al kinds of home remedies to cure just about any ailment we might have. I find the earthy quality of Scotch whisky to be something that is very grounding, and the smokiness of the Laphroaig speaks to me of mystery, and all the things we have yet to learn about life. Find cadence. It’s there. We need only to calm ourselves long enough to hear and feel it once, and it will become something we will forever seek. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!
2 oz Dewar’s White Label blended Scotch whisky
1 oz Element [Shrub] Pineapple Turmeric
¾ oz honey syrup (one part honey dissolved in one part warm water)
¾ oz lemon juice
¼ oz Laphroaig 10
Ginger beer to top
Add all the ingredients except the Laphroaig and the ginger beer to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until very cold. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with the ginger beer and stir, blending well. Float the Laphroaig on top by pouring over the back of a bar spoon. Garnish with candied ginger. Enjoy!