Tuesday, February 18, 2003

From Zigeunerleben (Gypsy Life) by Robert Schumann (1810-56), a choral piece.

“From deep in the forest, concealed by the trees, a stirring and rustling is borne on the breeze. A glimmer of torches, a flicker of light, as patches of color take shape in the night. The wandering gypsies, so wild, so free of care, with eyes flashing brightly, with dark flowing hair; Some nursed at the bank of the Nile’s sacred flow, some burnt by the fire of warm Spain’s southern glow. ‘Round campfires a blazing with branches all piled, the men making camp look untamed, brutal, wild. There crouch all the women preparing the meal and filling the goblets with wine as they kneel. Then songs and old legends they sing in the night, of gay Spanish gardens so blooming and bright, and magical ancestral legends are told, passed on to the young once again by the old.

“A raven-haired maiden begins now to dance, and bright as a torch, burns her passionate glance. A strumming guitar and the cymbals ring, as wilder and wilder they all dance and sing. To rest then, all weary from nocturnal play. To rest, deep in slumber, to dream as they may. Since they from their beautiful home lands are banned, it’s only in dreams they may visit their lands. But as in the east now the darkness takes flight, so vanish the gypsies, dark forms of the night. The shuffling of hooves at the breaking of dawn. They’ve vanished, they’ve vanished. Who knows where they’ve gone?"

Carissa, a friend of a friend from college daze and the roommate of a laid off fork lift driver, called and asks what name Warner Lambert is called by now. She said she looked up Adams in the phone book. I said try Pfizer. My connection to the place is deep. I worked in both the cafeteria and factory. Dad worked a few years as a security guard. Mom managed the cafeteria, off and on, for 37 years. Connections run deep. Spend any time in my hometown and you’ll catch a sweet scent on the breeze.

My best memory is making out with Esther in the Forest Hills Evangelical Free Church parking lot uphill from the plant. It was 1992, the first heady year of our partnership. I opened my eyes as I kissed her and saw a white hairnet-clad Warner Lambert employee. I remember thinking how lucky I was to be in the back seat of this van, with rock music playing softly in the background, making out with my woman instead of working. I thought of that night a couple years later, the summer of 1994, at work, white hairnet on, and about all the happier people making love and doing interesting things while I sat and watched bubble gum get wrapped.

Right now I’m listening to Echoes, and although I can’t name title and artist, many of the songs I’ve heard already. Guess there’s only so much ambient techno music out there. Only so many laid back computer keyboard aficionados out there jamming out for the obscure glory of being spotlighted on Public Radio International by none other than John Dilaberto. Time for beddy bye. Today nothing of great note. Teaching Kish kids to bowl. Enjoyed early afternoon sun and temps in the 40s. Back home read Charles Frazier’s “Cold Mountain,” rested, listened to refrigerator hum and water drip off the eaves spout. Later had Rock Valley College Community Choir practice. Back home more reading, chatterbox Carissa's call, and now.

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