University Park, Indianapolis.
In the winter of 1989 I was working for the Clerk of the Courts in
Indianapolis, with offices in the beautiful old State Capitol building.
Normally I would go to a fast food place on lunch, get a Coke and smoke
a couple of cigarettes. I didn't eat lunch, at least not normally, because
it would make me tired and especially sleepy afterwards and interfere
with my performance in the afternoon. So I just hung on until I got off
work and could get to dinner. Not the ideal situation, but one I had to
In February we had a mild warming from the winter cold, with tempera-
tures getting up so that I actually wouldn't have to button up my winter
coat. It was still cold, but it was a pleasant cold. Inspired by the weather
break I took to skipping the food courts and began taking walks through
the downtown area.
My favorite route was to go two blocks east from the Capitol, walk
around the Monument Circle dead in the middle of town, and then head
north. Once past the post office there were a series of continuous parks
and monuments for 5 blocks running up to the old Public Library. The
first park I would come to was called University Park. On the south end
of the park was a small fountain — turned off during the winter — and
on each side of it were two statues. One was of a nymph. The other was
the Greek god Pan. There were several stone benches around the fountain,
and I would sit there and look at one statue or the other, whichever one
I happened to be facing, or sometimes switch benches a little bit on and
visit both statues.
Back then I had an old cassette tape Walkman. During this period I would
usually listen to a compilation tape of some of the Scarlatti harpsichord
sonatas. I liked all of them. But there was one that I came to love —
K. 426. I would sit and smoke, and listen to the sonata, and it all just
seemed to fit into a piece. The overcast gray skies. The slight chill on
my hands and cheeks. The statue of Pan or the nymph.
I had my problems back then. I was working a job which did not equal my
resume. I was frustrated about a girl. And my dad was still recuperating
form a stroke he had in the Fall of the previous year. But in those moments
by the fountain, listening to the Scarlatti, with the god and the nymph
my only company, everything seemed perfect.
A few weeks ago I was in the bedroom listening to some music, like the
old days Scarlatti, and was playing with my dog Sasha. We were playing
with her "sock" — a kind of stocking toy that I had bought her over at
the grocery out of the vending machine, the kind of thing a daddy buys
for his little girl. Sasha loved the sock. So we played there on the bed.
She would pull at the sock and try to get it out of my hand. Sometimes
she would finally surrender, realizing that I wasn't strong enough to
pull it alway from her, and she would give it to me. And then I would
throw the sock up in the air and she would jump to get it on its way
Then, suddenly, K. 426 began playing. I continued playing with Sasha,
listening to the sonata, and of course thinking back to those days by
the fountain in Indianapolis.
And once again, everything was perfect.
I think that perhaps the most perfect moments we have, the moments of
transcendence, are found in the periods of greatest adversity.
To be honest I have come to believe over the past few years that it is
always perfect — that the universe is light and dark combined into one
unity, one single piece. We just may not always see it as perfect. Trials
and tragedies abound. And it is difficult to pull ourselves away from
those living here on this planet. But those things are of this world
only. The soul is always free.
Sometimes I forget that. It is important to remind myself. Here's K. 426.