This morning I had breakfast at Scarlett's new house. She has taken to calling me up and inviting me over in the mornings. She knows I won't eat breakfast unless someone reminds me, and she knows that breakfast is one of the things that anchors me to the earth at times when I would like to float away.
I have not been writing much lately, but it's not because nothing is happening. On the contrary, lots of things are happening, good and bad. I'm just not writing about them right now. For months now -- every since Boing Boing, really -- I've felt like I only had one or two more entries left in me, but then I think of something else I want to say. I can only see ahead of me a little at a time, like driving at night when the headlights only light up the next few yards of road. But that's all you need to keep going.
Anyway, Scarlett feeds me breakfast and then her friend Jason calls to tell us there are twenty harpists playing in the rotunda of the capitol building and we need to get down there right away. So we get on our bikes and go.
The rotunda is full of people and even though everyone is trying to be quiet, any rustle or cough fills up the space with whispers and echoes of whispers. Twenty harps are in a circle in the middle of the rotunda, played by twenty girls of various sizes, wearing twenty red dresses. "Greensleeves" floats up and away to the roof of the building four stories up and people are crowded around all three balconies, listening, trying to be quiet enough.
The music seems to have no beginning and no end, delicate vibratos bleeding into and out of the endless echoes of the space. The smallest harpers are very small, six or seven maybe, and they are very serious. Their hands move like seaweed in a current. I shut my eyes.
Listening to music is never easy for me, requiring a certain kind of concentration I cannot maintain very long. There are too many voices in my head competing for a hearing. With my eyes shut, I try to force myself to follow the notes of this music that washes up and down like small, soft waves rising over my head. The song ends and we all clap and the clapping is so much louder than the music. Another song begins, notes hanging on the air, persisting when they should fade. Like bells. The tune is familiar but I cannot place it and then the words come to me. Still, still, still, I can hear the falling snow.
Honestly, I don't like Christmas music. This song is better than some of the others because you don't hear it as much, not as much, unlike, say, The Little Drummer Boy, which is like a nasty virus. You hear it once at the grocery store and its in your head all day. I'm so glad I'm leaving town tomorrow, getting away from the awful Christmasiness of everything.
And yet, it's pretty. It's a pretty song, and it's being played by little girls with hands like seaweed, and the words are about stillness, which there can never be too much of. I feel something rising like a bubble in my throat and then I lean over and kiss Scarlett on the cheek because it's a beautiful world after all and sometimes you have to kiss someone.