Death recalibrates us.
For three days now I have watched people around me celebrate Thanksgiving and been indignant, thinking, "Don't they know that people are dying? How insensitive can they get?"
It occurs to me now that there is so much to be thankful for. This morning even the usual cliches - family, friends, poetry, health - are blessings to be treasured, blessings deeply felt. Because I am aware of how easily they could be taken away from me. Because they are so much more than I deserve.
Nothing has changed, of course, but this morning, for no reason and every reason, I am thankful to be alive.
So much to be thankful for.
At the concert yesterday, Andrey Boreyko conducts the Orchestra in a transcription of a Brahms Piano Quartet. Schoenberg's gorgeous orchestration leaves me laughing (silently) in my seat.
It is the first time since the attacks began I have been happy.
Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto. 2nd Movement.
The strings open with menace. Fear marches, growling, onto stage.
Faced with such opposition the piano hesitates, then, gently, finds its voice. There is no anger in its response, no haste, just the tenderness of true sympathy, of sadness in the face of evil.
Again and again the orchestra interrupts the piano, overwhelms it. The chords brandished like weapons, demanding attention.
The piano does not surrender, is not stampeded. Instead those tentative first notes grow into a sustained meditation, calm but not helpless, balanced but not unmoved.
Eventually it is the orchestra that gives way, its force fading, a storm dying out.
In the privacy of the silence that follows, the piano erupts briefly into outrage, then, the anger shaken from its heart, returns to quietness.
The movement begins in fury, ends in grace.
Hysteria n. Morbidly excited condition; unhealthy emotion or excitement.
I need to snap out of this.
We are all parents to our own grief.
We have to let it go, eventually. Even though it always feels too soon.