Echorus by Philip Glass

This song is my new obsession. The title comes from the greek word for “echo.”  I love the flow and focus of the music.  A pair of dueting cellos are the central point of the rich sound. You can almost see them dancing.  But as the music flows, other instruments and melodies compete for the focus of the heart of the listener. The music can’t help but be influenced by this interruption in the environment, separating the cellos until a mere whisper across space and time is all they have left.  But throughout the piece, each cello comes forward and advances until at the end they are reunited.

It just feels organic. The yearning is palpable and intense. The entire focus of the piece is these two instruments coming back together, despite the competing influences.

But what I think is truly incredible is the significance of this metaphor, as a mirror for my life right now. And more generally, humans.

Who has central focuses and goals any more?  No one really sits down and talks about what drives their moral compasses.

I know that my prime directive is love. But this suffers from my environmental influences too (the not-so-glorious part of being human).  Humans love imperfectly, and while I am a fan of imperfection and failed adventures, so many people resign to this attitude of, “It is already broken so why not break it some more? Why even bother fixing it?”  Rising above that is truly a struggle for me. The I-love-you-if or I-love-you-but, the human condition of love.  I don’t believe in ‘love but’.  For me, there is only ‘love and.’  I strive to be “the more loving one,” as W. H. Auden put it.

And I accept that, fully understanding the consequences behind it. Which are huge, if you have ever taken the time to think about it.  It means truly accepting that your love has to be without control, without greed,  and without certainty.  If you take the poem I am referencing literally, W.H. Auden is saying that he would rather be the one to love the stars more than the stars love him. (If unequal affections must be/Let the more loving one be me…)

What a heavy statement. But I wish more people chose like that.

Similarly, I guess I could say that I would rather be the more pained one, than having to watch others suffer. I know my own strength and I know the weight of what I carry. I’d rather keep it than see it on another.  But that is out of love too.

Sometimes I lose big picture focus.  Too many people are echoing other types of love around me.  And this directive of Love can be an awfully abstract and difficult objective, like Philip Glass’s Echorus. But through all the background noise, I can still hear the whisper I am looking for.  That’s what Soulmates are for.  And for now, knowing Oz is out there is enough to keep me playing through the crescendos and swirls of music about me, and to help me see through the echoes.

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