May 1st always feels like the beginning of summer, of many colours green, of music and sunlight and magic. As I drove down the mountain this morning I saw a marmot running up the rocks by the side of the road. I switched on KGNU, the local radio station, and found myself in the middle of passionate and intense music. It was viscerally familiar but unidentifiable (this I so often find to be the case). I got as far as “it’s a piano trio, 19th century”….but no further before the announcer relieved me:

Smetana Piano trio in G minor


This immediately made me think of my father who, although his sympathies lay more with the 18th Century than with the excesses of the 19th, had been utterly entranced by this piece when he heard it at a concert. He gave me a vinyl record (remember those?) of it for Christmas that year.

The Irish poet & philosopher John O’Donohue wrote in Beauty: The Invisible Embrace :

There is a profound sense in which music opens a secret door in time and reaches in to the eternal. 

Music can also stir memories, good or bad, and transport you back in time.

Music embraces the whole person. It entrances the mind and the heart and its vibrations reach and touch the entire physical body.

Journal Prompt:

Think of a piece of music that could catch you by surprise when you turn on the radio.

What memories does it evoke?

Who does it remind you of?

What time in your life does it transport you back to?


As I drove down the mountain the radio informed me that in the old Celtic calendar May 1st was the first day of summer. He went on to remind us that it was also International Workers’ Day.

The next piece of music was Chopin‘s Revolutionary Etude.

Tell us what pieces of music would you choose for:

a) May Day

b) the 1st day of summer

c)International Workers’ Day

d) all of the above

Published by Kate Thompson

Kate Thompson, MA, CJT is a BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) senior accredited Supervisor & Counsellor who trained in London and at The Center for Journal Therapy, Denver, Colorado after a first degree in English Literature at the University of Cambridge, UK. She is an existential therapist who works with writing as part of her pratice.

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