Driving in the car the other day, switching between radio stations, I stopped on one that was playing a cello concerto, and found myself drawn into the rich texture of the music.
It wasn’t so much that a melody caught me up, or a rhythm had me tapping the steering wheel. It was more like standing on the edge of a grove of trees in which a strong wind is moving all the branches in unpredictable harmony. Or like standing on a rock out from the shoreline where the swell is crashing against the sand—surrounded by unstoppable water, cold splashes of spray, bursts of wind, and the silence of sunlight at the helm.
How interesting to be carried along in a human mind that is itself enmeshed in a larger sentient aliveness. Ordinarily this experience seems flat and tame, the domesticated pacing of the preordained and rehearsed. But sometimes it can occur to us that the familiar is offering a doorway into a richer realm than we ordinarily notice.
Listening to the sound of the cello, a phrase came to mind:
“A lonely dragon sings”
Never having heard a dragon nor wondered how one might feel about its life, this phrase doesn’t relate to anything in my own experience. But it allows me, now, looking back, to ponder how it may not be our associations, images, memories, or even the insinuations of rhythm and melody that provide us with a sense that we are present in a living realm. The sense of encountering the living being of our world, and of responding to the stirring call that answers within us, can feel more like a curtain stirring in a windy doorway.
Perhaps we ourselves are lonely dragons who have forgotten to leave our caves and to thereby discover that we have folded wings on our scaly backs.