Thursday, October 15, 2009


When I'm about to leave the house and music is playing, particularly ravishing music--Bach, Dawn Upshaw, Chet Baker--I do not turn off the radio. I take my keys, my camera, and wallet, and with my cell phone clipped to my waistband go out the door and down the driveway, pleased with myself as if I had done something remarkable. I don't leave the radio on for security, unlike a friend who used to leave his radio on to frighten away thieves.

The other day as I walked away from my house to the sound of "Night in Tunisia," I thought about leaving things on, not just the radio. All the books I've loved are still on, still playing. The volume is turned down but will increase if I open the book and read. The paintings that turned me on are still on. The ink still seems fresh on the letters my mother wrote to me: "Dearest Miriam, I want to tell you I can enjoy life again. My vital signs are good."

A few blocks away, the Buddhist monks have made a sand painting. On October 21 they will perform "The ceremony of dissolution." They will destroy the painting. I can't be like them. I want things to go on.


  1. oh, how lovely.
    Isn't that why we write, so that things that we know, have seen, feel, will go on?

  2. I think it is why we write. And also take pictures, as you do.

  3. The openness or the book and the ongoingness of paintings and music are an appealing vision. It's a feeling of having art there and being able to tune in and experience it like landscape and air -- being in it, but not in a dreamy way.

  4. i brazenly left my radio on today, when i went your honor!
    it was nice to come home and hear murmuring in the kitchen.