reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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mike and arvo at dinner. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

mike oldfield played during our dinner on sunday evening. we hadn’t listened to his voyager cd in quite some time and put it on after arvo pärt’s piece “spiegel im spiegel”. we all sipped wine and chatted, catching up.

and then, in the way of surprise moments, i heard it. somehow i had forgotten. “mont st michel“. i jumped up to run into the sunroom, telling them, “wait! you have to listen to this. really listen. hear what happens!” i pushed the button on the cd player to go backwards on the track and found a spot before the moment. i went back into the kitchen to make sure they were listening. i pointed out the swell as it happened and my heart crescendo-ed with it, spilling into tears i could not help. stunning texture, orchestration that raises and tosses you around in mid-air, holding you up in the clouds, swirling around you, steadfastly not allowing you to fall. it opens you, gives you hope and elevates every single thing, and then gently, tenderly sets you back down again. words rushed out of me as i marveled – again – at this piece, a composer of impressive standing, mike oldfield at dinner.

because i had the floor, i put arvo’s piece back on – a definitive difference in texture and absolutely no less tantalizing, no less seductive as it draws you into the play between piano and cello. utterly gorgeous.

and then, because i had the floor – and they were encouraging me – i put on two of my own pieces: “last i saw you” and “peace“. i talked about composing and structure and the weaving of emotion, about ken’s orchestration and producing, about the rise and fall. i described the moment we slid the sliders forward on the mixing board during last i saw you – a moment i will never forget, ever. the lift.

and, then, as suddenly as it began, i stopped, realizing i had just talked nonstop for the last half hour or so. they sat quietly. so did i. the texture in the air was palpable and i was grateful to see tiny tears forming in the corners of their eyes as mine were not hidden and were threatening to overflow.

the path from dinner to dessert was full…our conversation deep with the fresh air only heartstopping beauty can bring. like this beloved path around dory lake, lined with aspen and pine, grasses and reeds, the path to pumpkin pie was lined with talk of cellos and french horns, piano lines and the effect of a crescendo on hearts hungry for a little release.

mike and arvo left after dinner, and i put away what was left of the pasta fagioli in the stock pot.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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la vida. [two artists tuesday]

i don’t remember what grade i was in when it was assigned: a project detailing what your ideal life would look like. it was either later junior high or early high school years. if i could find it in one of the bins in the basement i’m sure it would be predictably naive. i remember designing a house, writing about family, but not too many other details come up for me. designing an ideal life is never really inclusive of actual reality, difficulties, disappointments, hardships. i think it would be interesting to find this report anyway. the 1970s were a different time and this project would reflect that. were i to write a report now to reflect my ideal life, it would be a much simpler picture than i would guess that old paper would paint.

i remember columbus saying that he worked his whole life to have weekends with his family. to enjoy his backyard, his garden, a little fishing, time with the masons. he was living his ideal life each day, though the look in his eyes when we took him back to iowa and he stood in the fields gazing out at maize corn and blue sky would belie that. his dream was to raise his family in his hometown and, though he ended up in colorado, his other life was, i’m sure, somewhere in the farmland daydreams that swirled in his heart. he was wise, though, and didn’t wait to live until he was back in the midwest. instead, he set his sights on now. he didn’t wait. and each time his children or grandchildren visited he would cry upon their leaving, giant tears falling on this rugged man’s face. dolce.

some people are fortunate enough to have both: real life and the other life, la otra vida. crunch always felt that way about his boat too, so he’d understand the boat owner who named his boat ‘the other life’. moments of escape away, drifting, piloting to block island and fishing in long island sound, these are crunch’s ideal moments. though many of the boats and yachts in our harbor never leave their slips, perhaps just sitting on them in fresh lake air yields much peace for these boaters.

a house with lots of windows and open space, lots of repurposed old stuff, a kitchen in which we love to cook. nothing fancy. wood floors and a lot of white paint. a fireplace, my piano, david’s easels, places to sit and write and room for our beloved children, family, friends to come with significant others and visit. mountains and a lake out the window, a couple horses grazing.

last night as we sat on the deck in waning light turning to dark, tiki torches and our tiny firepit burning, dogdog sprawled out at our feet, we listened to the soundtrack of richard curtis’ movie about time. arvo pärt’s piece ‘spiegel im spiegel’ came on, a long piano-cello interplay of simplicity. we both had tears. if contentment was a piece of music, it would look like this.

though there are not mountains, a lake and horses out the window, perhaps someday there will be. it’s my maize-corn-blue-sky vision. but columbus was right. there’s the rest of it. the other life is always right there.

andrea wrote to me in 2009, “nothing is idyllic. i think we have idyllic moments. we have to take time to savor what is around us.”

la otra vida = la vida. ideal living.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY