Thursday, December 24, 2009
Field and Fountain, Moor and Mountain
Tuesday night Mark and I met friends--Donna Masini, Alex Dimitrov, Angelo Nikolopoulos, and many others--for an evening of caroling on the West Village streets. Our friend Marie Howe started this tradition some years back, and when she asked us to come this year, we said yes: who wouldn't want to be a part of any Marie-organized event?
So we gathered on Barrow Street. Standing in the crowd, I thought, but singing is work--it's hard to sing for long stretches of time if you're not in shape for it. Or what if it feels self-conscious? Or what if we make the people who walk by self-conscious? This was New York: didn't we have to be good, at least some sort of good? (And peeing. What if any of us had to pee?) The plan was to sing in several locations, over time. The night was cold, cold, and it wasn't going to be easy to break from the group.
We sang. We moved over to Grove and Bedford. We sang some more. Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Oh Holy Night. The First Noel. At some point, Alex said, you're so serious, you haven't even taken your eyes from your sheet. I hadn't realized I hadn't taken my eyes from my sheet. Only that when we stopped, I wanted to go on and on, despite the cold in my feet. The wonder of tuning your voice to other voices, matching those others in pitch and timbre. You're experiencing your own body just as you're leaving it behind. (The breathing, sound humming in your mouth, tongue, and teeth.) A little like sex. Or running, for that matter, though we were standing shoulder to shoulder. Still, but for the shifting of feet. And the 2010-year-old baby was us.