It has been a moist day in Arlington. The rain, usually gentle began as I exited my stay at Starbucks with my hands full of drink and beverage for my spouse. With nothing fixed on my schedule until 5 PM, I had the flexibility of time available to those of us retired, perhaps not looking too hard for our next employment opportunity.
I had perused my normal Tuesday reading, saw nothing on which I felt inclined to comment. Today is the birthday of both Brahms & Tschaikovsky, but somehow neither spoke to me today. I glanced at the posts here, perused some, but they also offered little to hold my attention.
So as is my wont I turned to reflection - about the world in which I find myself, about what the future may hold, about what matters.
I had expected to hear further on a couple of employment opportunities. That I have not may mean little. Then again, it may mean I am no longer under serious consideration. That would be at least mildly disappointing.
I saw a few other opportunities worth exploring, so I took a little time to put together and send of materials to see if I might thereby draw a nibble or to.
I outlined what I plan to do in two days in a sample lesson, and received some encouraging feedback from what i believe is the teacher in whose room I will present it.
At time I simply sat in stillness.
I listened, I really listened, to music.
Perhaps it is the rain today. The cats are almost meditative. Leaves on the Current works from home on Tuesdays. As this is her off week from chemo, there are no medical appointments. The sounds of traffic are somewhat muted by the moisture. Even the garbage trucks do not seem so loud.
I don't know why, but the Mahler symphonies divisible by 3 called me, the 3rd, 6th and 9th.
THE 6th is his "tragic" symphony, and I watched the the final 30 minutes of a performance by Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic, at the end of which the conductor was drained. I felt wrung out as well.
There is something about Mahler that if one truly surrenders to the music simultaneously uplifts you and drains you.
Perhaps that is most true of the ending of the 9th, which ends so quietly.
But before I could get to the 9th, there was the 3rd, a complete performance, again conducted by Bernstei, with Christa Ludwig, the Vienna Boys Choir, the opera chorus and the Vienna Philharmonic.
I wondered what it would be like for the soprano, after having sung, to then sit through that final movement of the 3rd, one of the great movements in the orchestral repertoire.
I know that I chose not to watch, merely to listen, with my eyes shut, with my ears wide open.
As many words as I may pour forth here, I am less someone verbal-linguistic (to use the categories of "intelligences" as defined by Howard Gardner) than I am music rhythmic. It is through music that I am most able to transcend the limits of my cogitation and reach out to something more complete, too complete to be fully encompassed in words.
Sometimes the music that achieves that for more lacks histrionics or seeming emotion - a Bach Prelude and Fugue, for example.
Sometimes the music is so emotional it tears my insides - one of today's birthday boys does that with the final movement of his 6th and final symphony, the Pathetique, which like Mahler brings one not up in a burst of sound, but down, or if you will, inward.
Rush has now begun. It is after 4, and the traffic in front of the house picks up.
I am not yet ready after the intense Mahler to listen to anything else.
His sounds are still echoing in my mind, in my heart.
I set aside concerns for employment opportunities.
I Listen to what is left of the rain.
I remember that being retired affords me moments like these, where I can reflect.
I am grateful for the music.
The rain cleanses me.
I think I will walk in it.