Music as a Travel Agent


“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Aldous Huxley


When my husband and I were in training at the University of Iowa, the Department of Otolaryngology ( Ear, Nose, and Throat) put on a program where the entertainment was a slide show of scenes from Iowa called “Iowa, a place to Grow.” The background music was opening movement from Beethoven’s 6th Symphony or the Pastoral Symphony. It is playing now on our public radio station. Of course, every time I hear it, I think of our four years in Iowa City.

It is amazing how over the years we only remember the good parts, and that is exactly what I flashes through my mind this morning. The friends we studied with, my first job as a pediatric radiologist and the amazing physicians I worked with who taught me how to be a pediatrician and a radiologist, taking trips on Sunday afternoons with our two boys to small towns looking for antiques. One of our favorites towns was West Branch, the birthplace of Herbert Hoover.

I remember the first house we were able to buy with the help of my husband’s parents, the fresh food from Iowa farms, Sunday dinners at the University of Iowa, concerts at Hancher Auditorium, the city park just around the corner from our house on Park Road, the large elm tree in our back yard and the apple tree between our garage and the house, riding our bicycle for two with our two boys on it unprotected, visiting the Amana Colonies, weekends in Davenport on the Mississippi River, and short trips to Chicago.

I hear the music and I am immediately back in Iowa with old friends. Music transports us to new places but especially immediately takes us to places we have been. These are soul trips that bring us to places of comfort and peace if we will take the time to allow them back into our minds.

Music can be one of our best travel agents to times and places where we were loved and cared for. This leads us always eventually to a place of gratitude for opportunities, friends, and teachers, and the many who cared for us that we forgot to thank at the time, but take time to do so this day.