Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Tune Lima

I was having coffee on the rooftop of my place after mass this morning across the street, chatting about Georgia with a Croat, when he jumped up and leaned over the false-front of our building and called me over to see the procession from the church coming down our narrow little street. Suddenly there was a brass band playing what could be at a stretch tunes from a Spaghetti Western, brass and drums filling the air with sweet melancholy. I had to strain to get a view over the retaining wall, and below I saw hundreds of people, a band, priests and assorted officials, women walking backward in a cloud of incense, and people on both sides of the street watching, clapping, cheering as a float came closer, a Madonna. [Click on photos for enlargement.]

I have no idea what it's about, but I know that those who participated are joyous. It appeals to me immensely that church-goers come out for this event, and that many of them have spent their own money to buy instruments to play in the band. It's a substantial investment not only of money but of time to have, for example, a tuba and to be able to play it in a band. It's part of a life-long commitment to this community of believers.

Yes, I think immediately of Enrico Morricone, but that's me. I've been many places and seen and done many things, and I still filter much of my experience through my early life and standard understandings of things, but sometimes I can let go and take in things as unique to themselves.
I stood above the crowd and wondered what it is to be a member of a band of believers, so committed that one is in great part that identity, and that the band is what ones life is about in a significant sense. I'm just passing through. It could be a movie set or it could be the real stuff of life for many. I tune in, but the score is sort of lost on me. Life is a medley rather than a symphony. For some it's a passion. I am thankful to have even this bird's eye view and to catch the music as it floats upward momentarily and disappears into memory.

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