This being the season for it, I\’ve been doing a lot of clicking lately: clicking to enlarge object, to enter selection in shopping cart, to proceed to checkout. The riches of the planet, including gold, frankincense, and myrrh, are at my reach as I recline on my studio bed. All I have to do is click.
I rewarded myself from a day of clicking by watching Almodovar\’s film, \”Broken Embraces,\” on TV. At the end, as the titles were scrolling in their usual unreadable fashion, a flamenco song came on, slow and beautiful and sad. The singer was not afraid to take his time, to pause in the middle of a phrase, to let you anticipate the end. I love performers–speakers, singers, actors, musicians–who are sure enough of themselves to take advantage of pauses, and their effect on the listener.
But what was the name of this song, and who was the singer? I squinted at the screen, hit rewind and squinted some more, but couldn\’t make out a single word. That beautiful song, that soulful singer were gone.
It was late, and I got ready for bed, and while my husband was brushing his teeth, I idly googled Almodovar, then clicked the name of the film, clicked \”music,\” and in a couple more clicks there was the singer, singing his song.
Now, of course, he sings whenever I want him to. And the song, \”A ciegas,\” (\”Blindly\”) still gives me goosebumps, brings tears to my eyes. But I know that if I play it too often, the goosebumps will go away, the tears will stop. That\’s why I\’m not going to send for the CD, although it would be so easy, with just a click.
When Bach was a young man, he walked twenty miles to hear the organist Buxtehude play. And then I imagine he walked those twenty miles back, trying to fix in his mind what he had heard, and knowing that it would fade, but that the memory of the feelings it had aroused in him would remain until his death.
I wonder if the memory, not of the song, but of the emotion it evoked, would have been stronger if I had heard it just that once, at the end of the movie, knowing that when it was over I would have lost it forever.
\”On ne possede qu\’en s\’abstenant,\” (\”We only possess by abstaining\”) Colette said. In this season of buying, when the notion of abstinence is forced from our minds by the media, we might do worse than to let a few things go, to possess them all the better.
Here, in case you want to hear it, is \”A ciegas,\” sung by the cantaor (flamenco singer) Miguel Poveda. Just click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3CJiJX-qLE