Today, we were tourists. We passed through the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of 9,999 rooms. We ascended the steps of the Temple of Heaven. Kites fluttered overhead. Azure-winged magpies shrieked from cypress trees. Hazy sun shone all day. Some of us are pink and peeling. One singer sank into a wheelchair, exhausted.
Members of the Rochester Oratorio Society landed in Beijing today. Dazed with jet-lag, we passed through a dazzling world of gleaming floors, polished steel, and walls of glass. Triangular skylights floated over us in a vaulted ceiling. Beijing's new airport opened two months ago, and the most astonishing thing about it is its sheer size.
Restless sleep. Vivid dreams. Sometimes my stomach hurts. Other times, I get a floaty feeling like I'm seeing streets and faces through a fisheye lens.
On Saturday, I'm flying to Beijing to represent the U.S. as a member of the Rochester Oratorio Society in a Pre-Olympic Cultural Festival. I haven't left yet, but I'm already learning a lot about myself. For one thing, I'm learning that despite my hunger for adventure, ya know, I'm just a girl from a small town in Western New York.
Hey, guess what? I found my copy of Alex Ross’ “The Rest is Noise” buried in a laundry basket, of all places. In such moments I think of Thoreau’s stint on Walden and wonder if I should jettison some stuff. But not Alex’s book. I’m very happy, and I apologize to my co-workers for suggesting one of them might have lifted it off my desk.
Now that I think about it, what a wildly optimistic notion. Not everyone is so crazy about 20th century classical music.
Summertime . . . the livin' is easy . . . fish are jumpin' . . . and I'm takin' a few days off to go campin'.
While I'm gone, you're invited to submit as many captions as you like to this blog's FIRST EVER caption contest. The winner, selected by a panel of non-experts, will receive an inconsequential knickknack.
I just downloaded the new Cassandra Wilson album, "Loverly," and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s an album of standards, morphed into Wilson’s own hypnotic creations. My favorite tune after two listens -- “Dust my Broom.” Gary Giddins’ profile in the New Yorker omits the mention of “Blue Skies,” Wilson's first inventive album of standards. "Loverly" is natural, elegant, open. I love it.