Ordering Note:
Spring Song
28 March 2019

ΒΆ Late afternoon in the bedroom, sorting tote bags. When it came up β€” when I decided that the bag of crushed totes could no longer be allowed to take up space in the storage closet, where they were of no use β€” I assigned this job to Kathleen, not because I wanted her to take care of it but because, in the middle of so much remuddling, I wanted to pretend that I’d offloaded something. When she made a move to go through them, I said, “You don’t have to do that now,” which we both took to mean, “You don’t have to do that at all.” I was only saving up the strength to do something brilliant β€” which now I was doing, in the bedroom, by dividing the totes into three groups. (A) historical: mostly rather dirty, much-used bags imprinted with the names of beloved but bygone emporia (Patisserie Dumas, for example), (B) monogrammed: all from LL Bean, in all sizes, and most bearing my initials, and (C) giveaways: cheap, unreliable totes, handed out at financial conferences, bearing dreary designs and even drearier proper nouns. We will treat the giveaways like the paper shopping bags of old, which we’ve stopped accumulating since we stopped accumulating what comes in them, and at some point they’ll all be gone. Each class of tote went into its own large tote bag, and I stowed all three beneath my grandmother’s tea table, where bits of them can be seen, but only if you’re looking.

On the little Klipsch iPod dock, Bach’s B-Minor Mass came to an end, sooner, as usual, than I expected it to do (the Agnus Dei is disproportionally short). And then, a bit of a programming masterstroke, Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air. Many listeners might find the juxtaposition jarring, but to me Riley’s piece is a primitive-sounding forebear of Bach’s toccatas, despite its having been composed centuries later. Although the music doesn’t seem to cohere in the same way as Bach’s, it is no less rich and intense, and over the years it has lost its originally pungent association with the Countercultural Sixties. But Rainbow did enhance the feeling that I already had, not only of dealing with the tote bags competently, but of being as young as this spring, which is about to whiz through. 

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