I remember being a teenager, leaning across my dresser towards its large mirror and studying my face, wondering if I was beautiful or not. It was an indecent hope, and I faithfully dashed it whenever I could.
My village lies there in all its stony composure under the first thunderstorm of fall. It meant cold weather was coming, creeping in like a procession of ghosts under the rumbling sky.
I am an outsider and always will be no matter how long I come and spend my summers here. I don’t mind; I like my existence framed this way, with enough sunlight to comfort my skin and aging body, and my ears thirsting to hear French laughter, and French whispers below my window.
The rain isolates you the way not even silence can.
The little notebook, its pages an eye-ease greenish tint, with my staggering penciled captions labeling every blessed thing, each flower picked and pressed and taped down to the page, contains more than specimens of wildflowers from a Vermont meadow. It encloses the first summer I remember.
Night is a palace of memories, with the beams lashed to the roof and corded with fragments of childhood, vanished links of how we grew up, and faint traces of our mother caressing our hair and sending us up to bed after a rambling story about ghosts and goblins.
How do we weather this welter of bad news? How do we adapt?
Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet. I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.
Listen along as Alwani explores the power of music and delights the audience with an ethereal performance of her piano ballad.