“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.”
— Mitsugi Saotome
a brief moment in timbre
One of the biggest bones of contention between Hubby and me is that I dog-ear pages. All the time. I have tried bookmarks, but there are always quotes and little phrases that I want to go back to, and I consider that the million bookmarks will make more a mess of the spine than a quick page fold-over or two.
My latest favourite book, then, is rather dog-eared; and my latest favourite quote is this, written by the author who has now finished uncovering the beauty of her once-again inhabitable villa, and has gone venturing through the wild Tuscan countryside in ever increasing circles:
We walk along eerie arches and columns, partly excavated and looking quite abandoned. Those Etruscans are going to stay mysterious. What did they do here? An Art in the Park summer concert series? Strange rites? The guidebooks refer to this as a temple, and perhaps here in the center a wise person practiced haruspication, the art of divining by reading a sheep's liver. A bronze model of one was found near Piacenza, with the liver divided into sixteen parts. It is thought that the Etruscans similarly divided the sky, and that the way the liver was sectioned also determined the layout of Etruscan towns. Who knows? Perhaps the forerunner of talk shows held forth here or it was the market for seafood. In places such as Machu Picchu, Palenque, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, and now here, I always have the odd and somber consciousness of how time peels off, how irretrievable the past really is, especially in these hot spots where you sense some matrix of the culture took place. We can't help but push our own interpretations on them. It's a deep wish of philosophers and poets to search for theories of eternal return and time past being time present. Bertrand Russell was closer when he said the universe was created five minutes ago. We can't recover the slightest gesture of those who chopped out this rock, not the placing of the first stone, the lighting of a fire to make lunch, the stirring of a pot, the sniffing of an underarm, the sigh after lovemaking, niente. We can walk here, the latest little dots on the time line. Knowing that, it always amazes me that I am intensely interested in how the map is folded, where the gas gauge is pointed, whether we have withdrawn enough cash, how everything matters intensely, even as it is disappearing.
Time. Souls. Culture.
Contrarily, this morning held a moment for us which will be bookmarked in our memories. Mum (Granny) and I took J11 and S9 to a jazz workshop at the Jazz Festival which has been rocking our town this Easter Weekend. J11 got to play a piece on the grand piano, in front of the twenty-five-person audience, and a fabulous jazz pianist then showed him how to improvise the song. Later, Granny asked him how it felt to play on a grand piano. He thought for a few moments and then replied dreamily, "It felt like the piano was playing *me*."
S9 and I sat in on a guitar workshop, held by a rocker-turned-jazz-guitarist who completely captivated us by the number of notes he fitted into a second of time, and his fervent belief that all of life is improvisation.
For my aspiring musicians, those two paragraphs on life's pages are now marked by dog-ears.