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To Be Alive

October 21, 2015

IMG_3474Early 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.IMG_3477

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?

IMG_3478Walker 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?”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2015 10:10 am

    Fall has been absolutely gorgeous here too. Not 72, more like low to mid 60s but for us that is really warm! And the trees still have their beautiful leaves. So I know how you feel!

    • October 22, 2015 10:37 am

      Every day that the leaves hang on is another day we have to look around, look around…before it’s all gone.

  2. October 22, 2015 12:10 pm

    We had a wonderful few days last week but most of our leaves went in a hard blow last night and I suspect the next truly beautiful days will come when there is a bright blue sky and sun glinting off the frost on the winter boughs. Just as long as it’s frost and not snow!

    • October 23, 2015 10:06 am

      This morning I am watching the bright yellow leaves from an enormous tree that extends from my neighbor’s yard across my driveway shower down onto the ground. There’s hardly even a breeze to cause it; they’re just letting go.
      I’ve tried to see winter as beautiful, but I just don’t; as the years go by, I find the prospect of walking on ice increasingly terrifying. So I will enjoy these last warm days and dream of retiring somewhere without winter.

  3. October 23, 2015 9:18 pm

    Ha! See! I should’ve specifically said YOU JEANNE MUST LISTEN TO THIS. I should have known it would be perfect for you. What is your favorite song! Mine is “The Room Where It Happens.” But I like them all pretty much.

    • October 24, 2015 9:08 am

      Nonstop is my favorite because of the words. The Room Where It Happens is definitely the best music, though. So singable!
      Eleanor pointed out the other day that the whole family’s infatuation with the sound track for Hamilton is going to make playing the formerly boring Aaron Burr card in Cards Against Humanity a lot more fun.

  4. October 25, 2015 2:17 pm

    Our fall has been pretty perfect this year as well — not quite as warm as for you, but still much nicer that I’ve expected. Fingers crossed it continues into November! I haven’t listened to Hamilton yet, but it’s on my list.

    • October 25, 2015 9:30 pm

      Well, don’t just take my word for it that the sound track to Hamilton is wonderful–take Jenny’s, too!
      I’m half-convinced that, as in Keats’ poem, warm days will never cease.

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