Friday, 2 December 2005
Cambridge, MA

Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Romance/Larghetto

The soul sings in this piece in big, wide, sweeping movements, peppered with beautiful, detailed sidebars for the exploring. But even in its beauty and expressive wonder there is an undercurrent of melancholy, and it flows like a river through me this morning. It’s a sorrow for all the unwept, for all the loss, for all that has left.

And even as one thing begins another ends and ends and ends and there is nothing to do but weep at the beauty that it was and the beauty that it will be as it keeps right on flowing down that river, but no longer for me to see.

Oh, how I fear watching it go. How I ache in that hole it’s left. And yet the river flows, on and on and on. I walk its banks, no longer chasing what has gone but simply exploring what life on the river of grief is like.

And sometimes I’ll wade in, pulling my skirt up to my waist, and then—what the hell—I’ll just jump full in and let the river carry me, floating along in its inexorable current on and on and on, nothing to hold onto or grasp but just letting the movement have its life with me, sometimes tumbling me over rocky rapids jagged with pain, and then letting me lie, dead-like in the quiet pooling stillwaters of what’s left or not yet become.

Oh, what grief. I don’t really know what or how, from whence or whereto, but it wells and it swells and it pounds from the inside, with that telltale insistency: LET ME OUT! And really, what is there to do then but be swept away in the rush of floodgates finally broken open.

But, it’s a relief, really, to let grief have its way, and discover the tender, merciful side of loss, the side you never get to see when you bar your heart in numbing fear, the sweet sweet melancholy that opens your soul up to living once again.

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