05 March 2015

Burlington, Redux

I am in Burlington, Vermont. I was here several years ago when I was on sabbatical from the University and I was writing Symphony #1 in a Minor Key: A Meditation on Time and Place. The Bed and Breakfast I booked this time is located just down the street from the cottage I stayed in then. (That cottage is referenced in Movement Four of the Symphony). I am here to visit my daughter who elected to stay here during her Spring Break, an irony par excellence, because the snow is piled feet high and the temperature remains below knee level. Three years ago I arrived in Burlington on a beautiful sunny February afternoon and during the first evening it snowed at least one foot. I am used to snow but I resent it following me about as I travel.
And today when I walked to town along the same route I traversed those years hence I remembered with great fondness—I enjoyed a calming warmth and satisfying joy—my meanderings in Burlington during that time when I walked these paths from the cottage to the town. Memories are, I know, imperfect, but I consider now whether feelings remain intact from their moments of origin, rise up from the unconscious until some protecting (or accusatory) superego suppresses them again. (So now as I look out of the window and see students walking the streets I envy their youths before I become aware of their angst). As Bartleby said, “I know where I am.” Phenomenologically speaking, what I feel I experience as real.

And when I sat down at Panera’s to await daughter’s arrival—she at work staffing  a Purim party at the Chabad daycare—I opened my email and found there a friend from the long ago past (that is not the same as the near or even yesterday past) whose reach across the country and the years gave me great joy. No, indeed, friendships are not really lost though they do sometimes as a result of life’s exigencies get put into storage. But when they are taken out, they are fresh again.
            Hello, still, David.


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