Musical Mountain

2010-08-16 23:44:35.000 – Mike Carmon,  Staff Meteorologist

A Melodic Deviation

Let me deviate, for one comment, away from the usual topics of discussion that you’re accustomed to occupying this small portion of cyberspace. Instead, I’ll take a journey into one of my interests, perhaps THE interest of mine, that has been essential to my existence and even plays a vital role in my day-to-day (or, more accurately, night-to-night) life on the summit. And, contrary to what many of my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances might be thinking at this point, the hobby I speak of is NOT weather.

On the contrary, I would like to speak on the subject of music.

I could not imagine a state of being without a musical soundtrack to accompany. For one, what gets me through these long nights is my library of music that is days long. In addition, I continuously associate my general life experiences with the music that surrounds the situation, and that song forever incites its allied memory when I hear it in the future.

For instance, let’s take the day I interviewed for my internship at the Observatory in July of 2008. I can tell you the last song I heard on the radio before exiting my car at the base of the Auto Road. “Wake the Sun” by The Matches, which turned out to be a very fitting number, as that interview effectively changed my life (you’ll understand if you know the song).

Here are some other memorable musical mountain moments and their associated numbers:

“Rainy Monday” by Shiny Toy Guns (heard on a previous Obscast); this tune always reminds me of my drive home from the aforementioned interview, as rain began to fall near the end of my trip.

“March Out of the Darkness” by Papa Roach; one morning during summer of 2009, as my shift was wrapping up and the sunshine of the day was young, this tune popped up on my ipod while I finished my last task of the night. It was perfectly fitting!

“Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event; during the wee hours of one of my night shifts, this number graced my ipod as I stared up into the starry skies on a calm, clear evening.

“Waking Up” by OneRepublic; occasionally, if the morning is warm and calm, I will find a quiet spot on the rocks after my shift is complete, and enjoy an hour or so of morning sunlight with some accompanying music. This tune added a fitting dimension to one such morning.

My final example has a much looser connection to Mt. Washington, but considering it is my favorite song of all time, its memory deserves an honorable mention amidst this context. I was on the beach of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, my annual vacation destination, at midnight, alone, with my ipod in tow (as you might have guessed by now, I rarely leave home without it). While looking at the stars above and the waves below, “Running from the Rain” by Thursday resounded in my ears, and it led to a breathtaking and reflective four minutes, as the experience was poetically complete. That night was my last night of the vacation, and a mere week before I would leave home for the mountains of New Hampshire. Quite symbolic, eh?

As a scientist, I usually speak and carry myself with a strong degree of logic and reason. But music tends to bring out a different side of my personality that takes me to a whole different place of mind. It has always been my ultimate escape. So it is the crux of fulfillment when I hear a song that has become irreplaceable to me atop a mountain that has so radically shaped my life for the past two years.


Mike Carmon,  Staff Meteorologist

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