Two events to note, and to celebrate. Ludwig van Beethoven's birthday was earlier this week. Last weekend WFCC, the classic music FM radio station here on Cape Co, honored him all day Saturday, playing many of his best loved works -- although I always regret that this station seems to have a "do not touch" label for string quartets. The genius of Beethoven and his magnificent music has given me more hours of happiness than any other musician's work. I regret that last Saturday night when the station played the entire 9th Symphony I decided to lie in bed and just listen. A mistake because I was tireder than I realized and fell asleep before the wonderful, beloved choral movement began. Of course, I have a recording, but I had planned to hear it and THEN fall asleep. Ah, well.
I look at this picture which is in many ways different from more often seen paintings of him. The vast forehead and somewhat unruly hair is the same, but the pained set of the mouth, the sulking eyes capture the biographical information I've heard so often. Yet I cannot see, even this picture, without thinking of the many melodies of such ethereal beauty (especially in adagio movements) and think that no picture can reveal the complexity of an individual. He looks like a man who can demand the relentless heartbeat I feel in most of his symphonies, an irresistible life force -- sometimes it feels like the pulse of a man determined to make others pay attention to the magnificence of being alive.
The second celebration is today -- the winter solstice. The shortest day, the longest night, the turning point albeit we won't sense it for a few weeks. The bitterness of winter hasn't begun where I am although it has in other parts of the continent. The night when people have lit bonfires, have trembled in fear that the sun will not return. But it will! I won't light a candle but I will light some incense and watch the smoke curl and sniff the scent as I curl up and read my book. If I'm lucky WFCC will play some Beethoven, and if they play music I feel only so-so about, I will put on a CD, perhaps the 9th, or perhaps the Wallenstein sonata which I love. Or the violin concerto which always stops my heart as I remember my very good sense to take it along on a trek in Nepal so I could listen to it while falling asleep alone in a tent with Everest guarding the horizon and Thengboche monastery at my back. Life is full of good moments past and present, I've made many of them happen because I know how to feed the my own soul.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!