Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker’s five-minute Friday thing. Today’s prompt: rest.
A piece of music would just be an overwhelming string of notes without the rests, the pauses that allow the musician to breathe, the gap that allows the hearer’s brain to savor what it just heard and to anticipate what’s to come.
One fall, I sang with one of those choirs that perform Handel’s Messiah every year. It’s heady, stirring music, and I loved the Monday night rehearsals and the pre-rehearsal chatting with the neonatologist who sat next to me in the tenor section. But the moment I was most nuts about, for reasons I still don’t understand, was that moment in the “Hallelujah” chorus when we have sung everything except the last “Hallelujah!” and the conductor is holding us — and we have lungs full of air ready to sing — and he’s waiting, one eyebrow raised like a fermata, for every single pair of eyes to be upon him — and we’re all together in the waiting —
and part of me doesn’t want it to end. Wants to stay in that unified rest.
And I didn’t even get to how language is the same way. There’s rest built into its sound and sense. These tiny curves, the size of Polly Pocket’s fingernail, that tell us when to slow down, to stop, to breathe, to listen, to wait. Or the geography of poetry on the page.