To Be Alive
Early fall has been excruciatingly lovely here in central Ohio. Almost every day is sunny and 72. The trees have turned their early reds and oranges and are now proceeding to yellows and deeper reds, and I have been driving around with the windows of my car down, singing along to the sound track to the new musical Hamilton, which Walker introduced me to last weekend when he came home to see us at the start of his October break.
Pippin is relishing his new freedom in and out the cat door during these last warm days that he thinks will never cease. He and Tristan sit on the steps together, listening for small rodents in the underbrush, fur shining white and russet in the sun. Eleanor sends pictures of herself on hikes in the staggeringly beautiful Arizona mountains, looking splendidly sun-kissed and happy.
The song I was listening to just now was “Nonstop,” the wonderfully woven reprise of most of the songs from the first act of Hamilton at the end of that act. I am still relishing the genius of the way Alexander uses his wife’s own words against her, “look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now…” these are the words that keep winding themselves through these bright days.
Gregory Orr describes this feeling in his poem “To Be Alive”:
To be alive: not just the carcass
But the spark.
That’s crudely put, but…
If we’re not supposed to dance,
Why all this music?
Walker always brings music into the house and into my days. It’s especially satisfying to have something powerful and exciting in the CD player when I get into my car on Monday nights, after symphony rehearsal, and can blast the remnants of the sticky moments in the second violin part of the New World Symphony away into the night with “isn’t this enough…what would be enough?”