Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I was dreaming Sunday morning, in that cold gray light just before dawn, about the end of the world again. Remnants of the previous night's movie* had sent tendrils, slithery nightmare tentacles, twining through restless sleep. (It doesn't necessarily take a lot to set me down this path. Sometimes it feels like a much too regular thing.)

Later that day we went to see a friend sing with the Renaissance Street Singers in a vast and gorgeous Chelsea loft, resonant with hardwood floors and enormous wood pillars and ceilings so high there was room enough for voices to mingle and intertwine and soar.

I'd forgotten, until that afternoon, until sitting there in that overheated and crowded loft, how much I'd once loved this kind of music. I'd forgotten how my parents and brother and I, early one autumn Sunday morning in Paris, had traipsed over to visit the Musee de Cluny, only to find that we had forgotten that Daylight Savings Time had ended the previous night and the museum was closed for another hour.  We wandered across the river to Notre Dame to kill a little time, and as soon as we went inside we could hear the singing, and it was the most beautiful thing my thirteen-year-old self had ever heard.

Almost every Sunday morning after that I would wake up early and head out before eight, either alone or with my father or with one of the many visitors we had throughout that strange and beautiful year. I would walk up our street to Rue Dante and then follow Lagrange to the Pont au Double and over the Seine.  And I would stand there for a moment facing the entrance to the Cathedrale, gathering myself, before walking in as quietly as possible to find a seat in the back and just sit there and listen until the music ended.

This is what I have been wrapping around myself these last few days, in the wake of yet another irresistible bout of apocalypse.  It was the closest I've ever come, I think, to believing in God.

*On the Beach

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