This is what I had been waiting for.
I am standing in the kitchen my hands wrapped around a mug of coffee. It is early, or it seems so as I am still waking up. I am frustrated that the file has not downloaded on my computer, it would sound so much better playing through the speakers, nevertheless I press the icon and settle for listening to it on my i phone. Its never as good quality but I am excited to hear the result of all the work that Kari has put into writing her first piece of music for full orchestra.
I hold the phone in front of my face, staring into the screen, straining to hear whether any music is coming out of the small dark rectangle in front of me. Gradually I hear something … tiny glass-like bells, a thread gradually creeping through a dark tunnel. I put my coffee cup down on the bench behind me so I can focus more fully. The thread is evolving now. It seems to be expanding into a spaciousness, a field of light. But it is not the fluorescent light of my kitchen. That small physical space fades as I am taken on a journey inside the music, inside my mind, into an unexplored and unknown world.
I am not ready for what I am about to experience.
My eyes are watering. I feel the tension across my forehead. I almost see the wrinkles as clearly as I see what is causing them, the vision in my mind of the world I am entering inside the music Kari has created. I know where I am going. I wonder if she meant it. I am not afraid, only that she may let me down and her music fail me. That I might fall off this celestial journeytrain before I reach my destination.
No, that cannot happen. I need to find Jesi…………………..Does Kari want that too?
Now tears are streaming down my face. They just happen. I do not vet them. I do not care. My day has taken a turn I could not have imagined and I am ransomed by it. I am momentarily distracted by my hands, noticing how I have curled my fingers inside my palms and how my nails, they need to be trimmed, are digging into the skin. The music continues to flow in its path, blossoming and intertwining like flowers and vines pushing upwards, seeking and searching for light. Suddenly stars burst forth. I have reached the pinnacle. Kari did not fail me. We are standing on the horizon of time. There is a sense of calm. Jesi is not with us… yet somehow she is. We cannot turn time back… but time is immaterial. There is a knowing. And the longing I have been feeling has vanished, just as the horizon I see inside Kari’s music, as if I am standing on a beach watching the sun slowly sinking, is taking it away.
“So Kari,” I ask like a newspaper reporter, my pen ready to write down every word she speaks, “What were you trying to create when you wrote that music?”
“The idea of light,” she begins. “The way it fades and expands into an overwhelming blinding experience… the build up of energy and how it retreats back to where it came from, so precisely and exactly.”
“Except,” she continues, “except out of the thread of it; the beginning or ending arise these fragments, melodies that subtly weave their way into the music to relieve the chaos of the blinding light.”
The space between us falls silent.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have told you what I thought before I asked you what it was about,” I feel somewhat bold saying this but it seems that she had been intending exactly what I had picked in first hearing the piece. How could I suppose to know what she was writing about?
Only I was to discover I had ascribed a different storyline to it…
Perhaps because I am a mother I had gone in search of my lost child, Kari’s lost twin. Kari had called the piece Kindred. It could have been about Jesi. I needed to understand more of what she was saying on this level…
“It’s about how chaotic our relationships became when Jesi got sick,” she tells me. “Everything goes crazy in terms of trying to have a stable family lifestyle.”
My mind darts back six or seven years as though they were yesterday, only all I remember is running to and from the hospital and trying to meet the material demands of getting food into the house and on the table for Chris, then fifteen and Kari, twelve. Of trying to get them both to and from school and sports practices and music lessons without missing a pick up time. There was hardly time for dinner conversation. Often dinner was hospital take out around Jesi’s bed after a lengthy commute through traffic to “Childrens” (Hospital Boston.) I immediately understood what she was saying.
And I understood why she had dedicated her first full symphony piece to her brother too.
“Me and Chris,” she continues, “Before, we had a normal relationship. Then everything changed. He was trying to survive, I was trying to survive. We grew separate. Often we were separated. He stayed with friends. I always wanted to be with Jesi. Sometimes we converged. We did things the way we used to but mostly it was chaos, like the blinding light, dazzling and confusing. I made the music say that through it evolving into melodic fragments of contrasting material. It was a relief from the spastic chaos of the overwhelming light at the beginning. It signifyied our sometime convergence… ”
“Hang on Kari,” I had to interrupt. She was going way to fast for me. It was an epiphany that she could write her story with all these intense emotions into music so succinctly. “Slow down a minute.” I needed to process not only the music but the underlying emotions she was expressing.
“Look at the score,” she offered. “The score descriptors…”
I got up and went into the next room to get my bound copy of the score. She opened it and pointed to the words in bold print scattered throughout at the top of the pages of music. Growing Kinetic Energy… Dispersing Energy… Light Uplifted… Blossoming… Fragmented…
“Yet it ends in the light,” I add.
“Yes. The tiny bells bringing closure.
I look at Kari’s face in the muted glow of evening as we sit together at the dinner table. Her eyes are alive with the light of her music dancing inside them. She is leaning slightly forward, her hands wrapped around her knees, tanned from summer’s sun and strong from yoga classes. I’m wondering what she will accomplish next. Three years ago when Jesi passed away Kari was not composing music at all. She had not discovered this passion that is now absorbing her so entirely and which she is using to express herself so completely.
I know that Jesi is watching what her twin is accomplishing from the world beyond. I believe she is sitting on her shoulder smiling.
Maybe Jesi knows what I don’t…
to listen to Kari’s musical compositions including Kindred
go to KariWatson.com