Posted on February 1, 2016
I took a short late afternoon walk with The Poodle yesterday. I’d already dragged him out early in the morning for a five mile walk when it was cooler. He wasn’t in the mood for a second walk; I had to drag him out. But I had been on the sofa in a T.V. stupor for nearly two hours, watching first an episode of The Big Bang Theory and then the remainder of a Queen Latifah movie.
I needed to get the oil back into the joints as it were. I just wasn’t up for a spin session nor even, oddly enough in the pleasant weather, an outside cycle ride. A little fresh air with The Poodle was really all my body wanted.
I pulled up Spotify on my phone and decided on classical instead of pop music. As soon as I selected Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ I was immediately transported back over thirty-three years. In those days I had a little Bell and Howell cassette player that my father had given me when I was a teen along with a handful of music cassette tapes (remember those?). Most of my tapes were of the classical music variety. My two favorites at the time were Vivaldi and Tomaso Albinoni. My then husband was in the military and traveled a great deal so I was alone a lot; Hmm. it occurs to me just now that this seems to be a theme in my life! Anyhow, I’d listen to Albinoni quite a lot while I was pregnant with my first born—my son—often placing the cassette player near or on my growing belly during afternoon naps or late in the evening so that the baby could hear the music too. I’d play the Adagio in G minor piece over and over. Somehow it reflected my mood at the time. While I was thrilled to be pregnant I was filled with anxiety and fear of a miscarriage since I had miscarried my first pregnancy the year before. The Adagio evoked so many emotions in me —amplified, no doubt, due to pregnancy hormones. Poignant, sweet, melancholy (almost funereal) contemplative, graceful, hopeful, powerful, regretful, passionate; so many emotions would pulse through my veins! Music does that to me…to most people I’d wager. Indeed, music is a powerful mood-altering and time travel tool…a visceral stirrer of the soul.
As I walked with The Poodle, the music transported me back in time and to a place where its significance to a moment was born. It may as well have been yesterday. And the vividness of it all was almost overwhelming. I may not be able to recall what I was wearing yesterday, or even what I ate, mundane as many days can be, but I can clearly see me thirty-three years ago resting in my bed in the 700 square foot condo that was our first home. With stunning clarity I see the cassette recorder on my belly and the blinds closed to the afternoon sun as I attempted to nap. There is the wicker bassinet I had purchased from Pier 1 Imports and the yellow ribbon that I weaved around the bassinet secured with two bows. It stands alone in a corner… in the left-hand corner of our sparse bedroom…waiting for baby’s arrival. I see the simple, modern-appointed oak dresser with a white clay vase and silk Irises…and the Matisse, Blue Lady, poster in a silver frame above the dresser. I’ve moved a thousand times it seems since those condo days and I’ve changed decor and rearranged stuff a million different ways. But I can see that room with baby’s bassinet in the corner as vividly as if it were here and now. I see my son, days old in his bassinet and there too, I had placed the cassette recorder hoping that the music would lull him to sleep (I was not always successful in this attempt. He preferred to be carried around!).
And I can clearly see too—a different movie playing—many years later as I enjoy long walks in the sand along the ocean’s edge, with ear buds and an iPhone now–that Bell and Howell cassette player a relic long gone. The salty cold water tickles my toes, dolphins frolic in the distance, surfers ride the waves…and this Adagio is playing. It still has the power to stir the depths of my soul.
The Poodle makes an abrupt stop to smell something interesting in the grass, snapping me back to the present. Wow. What a time-travel experience.
Hmm. Maybe this is the piece that should be played at my memorial? Or maybe I need to keep searching for just the right Vivaldi piece…? I think of the beautiful song that was played at Harry’s memorial just a couple of weeks ago; it’s been in my head since. Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman’s, Con Te Partirò (It’s Time to Say Goodbye). I have the album and it’s a song I’ve listened to countless times over the years. Before I know it, I’m blinking back tears as I think of the memorial video of photos that Harry’s family had compiled to go along with the song. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church.
Truly, I’m not being morbid folks. Yes. The end of life is a subject that I am thinking about a lot these days. And, believe it or not, more and more, I think of it without fear. I’m planning for it. Death is inevitable. It is part of living after all.
Enjoy this dose of bliss…..Con Te Partirò…(Time to Say Goodbye)