Why did I buy a couple of Hillary Clinton t-shirts? And why did I spontaneously go to a concert of Cuban jazz pianists just the other night? And why do I continue to watch old “West Wing” programs for the umpteenth time? What about taking on a dense 500 page novel when I should be immersed in crafting my own work?
I must confess to having a hard time adjusting to the urban world of noise and hostility : the sirens, the motorcycles, the clips of disintegration and suffering in Syria on the nightly news. Though I resist all this, I can still hear the seabirds of Galapagos, the honking of the seals … so all is not lost. I can still feel my feet rooted on the earth, and my heart rooted in continuing to forge connection.
Yes, it is all about community and connection… I ordered the artfully designed Hillary t-shirts because I wanted to bring myself closer to some communion with the cause of Hillary. I have never loved her – there are few who have, sadly. Images of Bill’s betrayal, her ability to shift and change, her hard-edged stonewalling … these have kept me from loving her. But the times are so bloody dangerous with epic hate in the air, the consequences so dire, that I cannot not get behind her cause. And so I bought the t-shirts. And lastly, I confess that I care deeply about seeing a woman president elected in this country before I die. It is about time!
The other night I went to our beautiful new jazz center to listen to two avant guard Cuban pianists who were accompanied by passionate fellow musicians. I went because I wanted to look at these musicians laying their hands on the piano and giving their hearts to the music, so I could remind myself of how much happiness I can give myself if I return to playing the piano. It has been a long time I have been in exile from the instrument, ever since I struggled with insomnia and depression. It is time to return to this gift of mine. Time to create something beautiful, to be connected again to my heart…
I have returned to watching Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing” yet again for a couple of reasons: it has brilliant writing, and it offers us a story of nobility in government, which many of us currently mourn the loss of. I want to listen to the dialogue and understand something about great writing, and I want to remind myself that we humans are capable of working together to create a better world. I want to restore my faith in our American character.
The novel (The Little Friend) I have started reading is by the prodigious writer Donna Tartt, who won acclaim some years ago for The Goldfinch, a book that took 10 years to reach the light of day. It has been rumored that Ms. Tartt needs 10 years to complete each of her novels. Wow. And given the layered intelligence and the depth of sensibility, I get this. Noble works are not born in an instant, but instead take time to assume their place in the world. Just look at Bach and his Mass in B Minor, which I also witnessed this last week … a work that he put together in the last year of his life, that was an expansive mosaic of many different pieces he had written in his earlier years. This Mass is beautiful, tragic, and uplifting. It brings us together, makes of us a community of souls.
Hillary Clinton may not be capable of brilliant transcendent creative work, but I think we generally agree she is capable of governing this complicated country, capable of keeping us together… unified. We need this coming together. We need to protect the victims in Syria, Mexico, Honduras, China, Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, and especially those in our own landscape. And in order to do this unspeakably difficult work, we must have the noble creative efforts of all our citizens…
If the Galapagos taught me anything, it was that we humans are in fact small beings who struggle on our paths just as the albatross, tortoise, and sea lion. In the words of Carl Sagan, “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”