The last thing John B. said was “Sweet dreams” and then he played the final selection of his radio program for this evening.
I’d already had a day of several doses of glory. The morning and afternoon music was divinely curated and received with gratitude. In addition the temperature, weatherwise, is cooler and today it rained. Hard it rained as I was going up a hill on an overtime section of a route I’d never seen before. With the pelting I could not hear music from the radio so hard was the rain, but it brought a kind of romance to me with the sound of the heavy drops hitting a metal roof, the roof of my mail truck while going up a hill in unknown territory.
And I thought certain thoughts as I slowed down, and then heard the sound of thunder and thought of the story in the Bible when God spoke to Jesus and all around him heard the sound but thought it was thunder. I smiled and slowed further, creeping along looking for the next box, still going slowly up the hill, but I could see the crest. And suddenly the rain stopped and the music filled my ears from the metal walls and roof and I turned off the windshield wipers and looked up. I had a sense already to look up with my thoughts, and something else filled the sky now. The storm clouds had blown over quickly and cleared away and this (posted here [in real time]) was left behind. I think it has been there for some amount of time lately:
Later, after work and after dinner and after some chores and after actually getting all of my personal mail sorted (it is with irony this time that I smile thinking that I sort hundreds and handle in the range of three to four thousand pieces of mail each day, looking at each one carefully, none of it mine, that my mail gets barely a glance before it gets piled into a basket beside Dad’s chair) and recycled and filed, bundled by rubber bands into categories—after all of that—I made some tea.
It was while I was letting the tea steep and tidying up the kitchen, that John B. said those words from the radio and played his final selection. It was one of my formative pieces of music and has haunted me until now, the Adagio from Gayne by Aram Khachaturian.
As it began, I went to my pre-amp/tuner and turned up the volume. Later I realized that I had expected myself to go to my patio door and gaze through the glass, looking with longing into the night as I have for many years when I hear this sublime music. But I hadn’t done that. I had kept tidying as if it were a natural thing to do, and I simply let the sweet music wash over me while I smiled again, rinsed a sponge, and wiped a counter.
At that moment I knew it has actually set in, has landed, “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul . . .”
Photograph “The Promise” © 2018 Timothy Waugh