Went to DC tonight, to the auditorium at National Geographic, to hear young musicians play traditional Irish music in a presentation called "An Irish Christmas in America."
There were photos of Ireland splashed upon the wall behind the players as they performed. It was wonderful and mysterious, haunting and joyous. A gift. A whistle of old performed by the new.
The Irish recognize sound as their heredity. Proust said memory is in taste, but for the Celts, it is the pulse of the drum, the scream of the pipes, the shrill of a thin penny whistle. All a celebration of good, as well as what is painful. Notes contributing to the recognition of being.
This sound is in the blood, passed on through the genes. Music is story. And story is life.
Years ago, I read an explanation about people who live on islands. They feel they have no escape, so they take on the world as a chip on their shoulder, double-dog daring anyone to knock the block off.
And then they head west, towards heaven, a direction the Celts professed the unknown to be. And the journey brings knowledge. And softening.
It is past midnight here in Mason Neck. The sound is quiet. The crescent moon is gold.
They forecast freezing rain and sleet for tomorrow. I will wait it out.