“Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning.
Find some one who’s turns
And you will come around.”
Around and around I pump my bicycle pedals hard.
Counting off in my head, ” 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. This is always my count. Always has been since childhood. Running, “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8; waiting for something bad to pass, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Went to a numerologist once. She explained my name, my date of birth and my place of birth were all under the number eight. I don’t remember what that means. Only that I thought “Oh, that’s why I count in sequences of eight to focus my mind.” 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. I pump hard. Have to be on time. Must.
I arrive a half hour early to the Philharmoniker Building. The Berliner Philharmoniker. People, in their after work clothes, sit about the football space lobby having a champagne, a bier with pretzel or espresso with finger cakes. The air hums in German. A beautiful hum of communication. People young and old harmonizing in excitement. Programs wave through the air. A wondrous stop action photo hangs on a wall in the middle of it all. The Berliner in action. Blurred flying arms hold steady instruments. I look at the photograph and ache to get into the space where the Philharmoniker plays. A sweet lady stops me with a name tag,”Isn’t it wonderful?” “Yes, yes so much power,” I reply. “So much.” She takes me to my seat. Her hands are warm with gentle direction.
The auditorium fills. Low humming close to a stillness shifts through the bouncing walls. Zubin Mehta conducts tonight. Seventy-nine years old. The orchestra appears and like a choreographed ballet dressed in black; the players take their place. The artists before me palpitate with talent. Then, Mr. Mehta limps, demurely from the wings to the conductor’s platform. Climbing the platform, his body transforms. He raises his arms, his back straightens and he begins to move. I swear he is twenty-nine. The orchestra responds with such emotional precision following the empowered arms. I am gone, transported into a Camille Saint-Saens Symphonie. My heart flutters out.
“Sweet Jesus”, I have never heard classical music or any music like this. Working, breathing as one body of instruments; the music moves to the walls and back and back into my soul. The room is breathing. Zubin really starts to move, the instrumentalists rush up to greet him with their sound. I am hit by the strange notion that this is better than U-2 Live or Bruce Springsteen when I saw him in my college days with the E Street Band.
I can not really explain. I cry for the beauty of mankind. What a wonder we are. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Grace. Amazing Grace.