Memorial Day Weekend about to kick off. Recollections prickle, musical first, icons like Come On Baby Light My Fire, (the Doors summer of 1967) and (much later), Every Time We Say Goodbye (Annie Lennox, 1990, from Cole Porter’s lyrics), reminders of buoyant times long gone. As pre-summer peeks around the corner, that familiar wave (as always) rolls in. It’s book-ended by Labor Day Weekend on the other side, what was unrolled inevitably receding (re-rolled wave), leaving nothing much except a song with wet sand stuck to it. At the time of those wonton summers, my dancing feet never touched ground, nor did I leave footprints or impressions behind; my bare feet crushed no insects, attracted no flies.
On this Memorial Day monday, the rain started pre-dawn. Short stories of Tanizaki Jun’ichiro (Red Roofs and Other Stories) beside me in bed, open at the second story – ‘A Night in Qinhuai’. The accompanying music: Birdsong and pattering rain. A text arrives from Paris:
I. entered this world at 7:30 this morning.
He is sleeping on my lap very peacefully now….
My precious friends have their baby at last. A healthy boy given the name of a great Bulgarian leader who led a peasant uprising in 1277, an inspiration to freedom fighters everywhere. Lines of James Joyce (‘Ecce Puer’) vaporize as tears leak –
…A child is born;
With Joy and grief
My heart is torn.
Calm in his cradle
The living lies.
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes ! …
Overriding Joyce, a song that’s engraved on my life-light, wails. It’s a song for all seasons. I listen, volume turned up, drowning the birds, also the squishy raindrops. It’s meant to welcome this tender newborn of Bulgarian/Scottish mix. The song was written by Barry White, below it’s performed by Barry with, yes (I’m not kidding) Luciano Pavarotti. You’re My First, My Last, My Everything. Welcome future friend.