Thursday, February 02, 2012

Beauty Brings Me to Tears: "First Impressions" & "The Summer Day"

Last week I turned on our desktop computer maybe for the first time since we moved to this house (it is not connected to the internet just yet)* and while digging through old files and checking out the music that is in that computer I found this piece (together with "Appalachia Waltz," which is beautiful, but cannot compare to "First Impresions," IMHO) -- the audio quality is not great in this Youtube video, but it's better than nothing (if you have Spotify, please listen to it over there!):
I wasn't expecting such beauty when I clicked on that track, so I promptly burst into tears and cried silently for several minutes (my boys were in the room & I didn't want them to freak out), listening to the song over and over again. Even I was surprised at how deeply it touched me. Then, while the song was still playing, I found this poem by Mary Oliver (by all means, read it while listening) and I cried even harder:
(I hope Oliver doesn't mind that I didn't ask permission to reproduce it in the blog, I found it here -- a government site)
The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver.

Those last lines I knew, from longtime blogger and talented writer Catherine Newman. The piece of music and the poem together just filled me with beauty in such a way that it simply overflowed in tears that I couldn't contain.

And then I desperately tried to remember who had told me about this album by Yo Yo Ma, Frank O'Connor and Edgar Meyer. I thought it was Susan Ito and I combed through her archives to try and find a reference, but I couldn't (maybe it's there somewhere). If it was you, by any chance that first told me about this music, could you let me know? I want to heartily thank whoever gave me this gift of beauty.

*because the room we chose to be our office/library doesn't have a phone jack (unfortunately we have DSL internet) -- we need to pull the cable from the next room to inside the closet and install the phone jack, but we haven't done it yet.

No comments: