Monday, December 3, 2012

God and details



I’ve done an uncharacteristic amount of flying this week, some for work, some for fun. On Friday evening, I found myself stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare airport for four hours, waiting for a connecting flight between Denver and Charlottesville, VA. 

After using up time by eating, getting a 20 minute massage, and meandering through the shops in the terminal, I decided to try to get some writing done. I also needed to charge my phone. I must have been in one of the older Chicago terminals because I could not find an electric outlet anywhere! Finally, I spotted a very convenient one (can you hear my sarcasm?) on the wall separating the entrances to the men and the women bathrooms. 

Picture me sitting on the cold floor, legs crossed, laptop on my lap, and phone charging--as a myriad of humanity processed before me.

To help me focus, I also put on headphones. As background music, I picked a beautiful instrumental piece from Yo-Yo Ma’s album Appassionato, titled “Morricone: The Mission,” and set it to continuous repetition.

The entire soundtrack from The Mission is stellar, and this particular piece can move me to tears.

Rather than writing, however, I found myself mesmerized watching, observing, noticing, the stream of people walking past me--and seeing them anew through the “eyes” of the music. Like the famous Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas, everything and everyone I thought I had seen before now moved and flowed in rhythmic tandem to the music.


The young airport helper pushing the Asian grandmother on a wheelchair now seemed to be strolling to the music’s tempo. Sometimes sad, sometimes intense, and often joyful, at each violin crescendo, a new person walking past me came into focus and changed form before me. 

I could swear that the mother holding hands with her two pig-tailed daughters was leading them in a ballet through the terminal. And the fatigued business man dragging two rolling bags behind him slowed down to a stop and looked up, as if waiting to find energy in the music he obviously could not hear. 

God is in the details, I could hear my friend Teresa reminding me. And in every note, I would add.

I could not find a youtube of Yo-Yo Ma's version, but here's a full orchestra playing 
The Mission's main theme conducted by Ennio Morricone himself