I used to think that life was an intricate series of levers and pulleys, buttons and switches, Mexican standoffs and hostage negotiations. As I get older I realize that life is more Netherlands minimalist than Jackson Pollock. The problems don’t get fewer, and in fact they grow in number, but the way I index them in the database is different. More problems get filed under fewer category headers.
Monotony’s a virtue for a lullaby. This sort of thing’s all over this piece: Schumann hovering meaningfully around a few notes, only partly hiding the monotony. In other words, each phrase is a kind of act of limitation, of concentration, of choosing; the lullaby is the creation of a hallowed, peaceful space; each phrase, too, is a kind of creation of a single space; finding a fulcrum to swing on, rocking around it, then rocking into another space.
I think a lot about what I would say to the younger version of myself if I met her in that marble high school hallway, or if I met her when she was sitting at the piano, or I saw her at the automat from across the room. If I met the younger version of myself, we’d take a walk (the same walk I take every day, of course), so I could explain to young me that routine and tradition are paramount. You have to choose a category header but it’s only as permanent as you need it to be, you have to choose a lullaby, and stay with it. Decide. If only for a day or a week. And that there is stillness in motion.