Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wrap Up

So maybe you jump in a puce-colored car that isn't yours and in one day drive over 350 miles to see these.

But not just these. You choose the boring terrain route because research reveals that at the halfway mark you can fill up at a Kroger gas station using a hefty gift card someone sent you anonymously last year for Christmas.*

Miles and miles of angelic and ghostly
wind turbines wave you past. Their spinning, each at its own speed or not at all, stirs up hope. Something is happening here, evidence of effort, simple movement, working with what is. Even on the drive back, their slow blinking red lights are beacons of solace.

You aren't excited at all about the trip until you drive past the skyscrapers on the left and the lake on the right and haphazardly turn onto an unknown street. Happiness hits you head-on and you are caught off guard. You've arrived at Christmas, or rather, at a child-like glee you haven't felt in decades -- nothing can go wrong, you know to your core you are exactly where you should be, and everything prior to this moment is irrelevant. You are in the NOW and it is so RIGHT.

You drop your bags in the hotel room and can't wait to run around the city. While taking this picture of Fourth Presbyterian, where you will experience magic in less than an hour, a woman shuffles closer. "Say, can I tell you a story?" You answer yes without looking away from the camera. Her story may be bunk but you give her $5, the total amount you tucked in your pocket before racing giddily past the doorman, and it is worth it to have her look you dead in the eyes and say, "Thank you for listening. It is rare that people listen."

After having washed off travel, you realize it's probably open seating at the church and your tardiness could be disastrous. But there, in the third row, you spot a moveable aisle seat, which means when darkness descends, you scoot out nearly into the middle of the aisle for the best view.

And you're looking at this. Except you're pretty sure photos aren't allowed so you don't take the time to ensure you've got the best shot. Ethereal lighting, incredible sound through horn speakers and no PA, and a tenderness and honesty you haven't seen in a very, very long time.**

You are struck with the thought over and over, "So this is what it's like..."

Magic. Bliss.
And when it's over, you go back to the hotel unsure of what to do. The blaring TV in the next room makes it hard to think, let alone sleep, and you don't want to lose these moments. You don't want to leave the hotel room that used to, long ago, belong to someone, a home.

The next day you drive around many parts of the city you probably shouldn't as you left your GPS system a few states away. You park on a side street and pat yourself on the back for thinking to lock your belongings in the puce car trunk out of sight until you realize you also tossed in the car keys. After anxious and almost pointless phone calls for help you retrieve them but then decide you probably shouldn't park there anyway, and will risk parking directly in front of the building where the first photo was taken, right next to a now-obvious "Guest Parking" sign.

By now you are late and learn that the annual Christmas party is their reason for closing early. But they give you time to yourself with the Silhouette and the 2000 Electroacoustic. But given your past experience as well as the previous night's sonic delight, these instruments are even more achingly mechanical and bright despite countless efforts to create the warmth and depth you need. You feel validated a hundred times over as you realize what you've been doing, all these years, on your own, but unnerved by the thought that it might not fit here. You leave almost relieved that you don't feel so compelled anymore to drop thousands of dollars to acquire one of these fantastic instruments.

Earlier that morning you realized YOU ARE IN CHICAGO so instead of merely wondering about an important matter you could actually just go experience it. So after Lyon & Healy you seek out Specimen Products. A chord strikes deep within; this is such a welcome change from the factory, and you are so amazed at the technology and the offers / offerings that you are very eager to drop thousands on the spot.

You have a lot to think about so you head north without directions and finally are in the vicinity of your last stop. Except you don't stop. You drive past the address countless times before realizing you're in the right place. You hope no one noticed the puce car driving in circles and hesitatingly head out of town. It doesn't feel like it should end. You realize you need experiences like this more than you thought and must build them into the very near future. You just don't know how.

You face the holidays, the financial strains and binds, the coming of a new year and you've lost the giddiness. Your entire purpose now is TO GET IT BACK. Something about it is very right, and it's given you a direction of some sort, and now the trick is to not forget, despite your million worries and doubts.

You light a fire in your fireplace, take advantage of wireless internet to which you've only very recently discovered you've had access, look around again for what to remove in order to get ahead, and marvel at having released the final symbol of your biggest life failure by finally admitting you failed. And you let go. And it's not The End.

*Dear Anonymous Gift Card Sender -- for a long time I turned the gorgeous stationery with the return address of Bun's Restaurant over and over in my hands as I tried in vain to decipher your 2008 handwriting. This, right here, is my only was of thanking you; what you made possible is priceless.

** Other write-ups and reviews of Andrew Bird's Gezelligheid December 2009 concerts:


  1. What a beautiful piece.... I love your writing, Trista. Thank you for sharing. I am speechless.


  2. certainly know how to put your thoughts in to words. Eloquent and beautiful. I love you, my daughter!