Somewhere, toward an unknown destination, I think of clusters of sunsets and wonder at the flight of days. As I drove down the road on my last day away from work, I listened to Schumann, master of otherworldly piano melancholy, whilst blackbirds by the dozens punctuated with spastic flight the closing of the past year. The mourning of it, really. What was there left to think about, save next week’s deadlines and the pressing forward. I looked back, into the shadow, only to see the fragments of the merry season of Winter fading with the removal of Christmas lights and festive signage. Capitalism collapsed in upon itself and we were only left with the faded memories of what was, what was wanted, and what passed by us all so quickly.
My soul is tired. It stands in a barren field, amidst the trees of past years, veiled and dreary, weary of all that is shiny and new in the world. Every year I make the same tired plea – please, do not gift me anything next year. I can’t bear it any longer. I have too much, need too little, and want for nothing. It seems, however, that all the masses around me are waiting for the next big holiday. Cash is king, Credit his willing mistress. A card came in the mail today, espousing us to already think of Valentine’s day. One wonders if there is time for much enjoyment of anything now.
It seems to me that all are sloughing off the idea of death and passing, holding on to the next big thing, the next great purchase, a small sort of secret, sinful pleasure that stirs the soul into having rather than being. The eternal search for the fountain of not only youth but immortality is alive and well and living in American Culture. Yet, I mourn. I am sorry to see the past year gone; not for my having regrets or desires of youth. I am sorry to see it gone as is normal for all those things which have been created and must die. The years must die for new ones to be born, as the cliche goes. However, we must reflect. We must wallow in our achievements and our failings, one last time, with deep thought and emotion, or else we are doomed to repeat, and repeat again, year after year.
I am always a little dark and mournful this time of year. Sickness eases the intensity of thought but provokes the deeper longing. “Traumeri” by Schumann heightens the feeling. I am reminded of Byron, perhaps for the same reasons. Humans are not so different through the ages. It would be wonderful if perhaps we could remember that.
My Soul is Dark
My soul is dark—Oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o’er mine ear.—
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again—
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
‘Twill flow—and cease to burn my brain—
But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first—
I tell thee—Minstrel! I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst—
For it hath been by sorrow nurst,
And ached in sleepless silence long—
And now ’tis doom’d to know the worst,
And break at once—or yield to song.
–Lord Byron and…