Thursday, November 25th, 2021

From Louise, a few days ago:

Bonjour! pour alimenter Aubade, voici un propos de Mary Oliver qui m’a plu!

Chanter, un rêve pour moi qui n’ai pas de voix mais je me permets en privé! Je recommence à chanter et danser…. signe que la vie reprend ses droits peu à peu! De la lumière au bout du tunnel! et voici!

J’écoute justement de la musique et je chantonne! bises ma douce amie! (LC)

My translation:
Good morning! Here’s some food for Aubade: something from Mary Oliver that I enjoyed!
It’s about singing, which I can only dream of because I have no voice, though I allow myself to sing in private! I’ve started to sing and dance again…a sign that I’m bouncing back a little! There is light at the end of the tunnell! Truly!

I’m listening to music and singing along! Kisses my sweet friend! (LC)


I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing especially when singing is not necesseraly prescribed. -Mary Oliver

My translation:

Je crois en la bonté, la bienveillance. Et aussi à l’espièglerie! Et aussi à l’acte de chanter, surtout quand on chante de façon imprévue.

Once again, Louise’s quote resonates not only with how she feels in a given moment, but also with her deeper disposition to life. Louise is feisty. And outgoing. And, as you’ve surely noticed as this blog has grown, how passionate she is, how very alive. I think she also relates to Mary Oliver’s gentle, transgressive wit.

I suppose people like Louise are made to carve their way to the life they want and to fight for it. I think they recognize all of the moments in which it’s possible to go straight to the marrow of life. I also know that this entails prodigious energy, and requires being able to put this tremendous appetite for life–passion, travel, voracious curiosity, fierce independence and fierce love–before all else.

These are the traits that draw me to Louise. They’re familiar to me–I see a milder version of them in my slightly older sister (16 months separate us, she would insist on this)–and awe inspiring.

In life, as in song, there are people who are happy to be soloists, who yearn to be so and seek that exhilaration, and others who will never choose to step beyond the bounds of the chorus, of the choir. I think Louise is the former. I know that I’m the latter.

In adolescence, my older sister and I sang in a church choir–both of us sopranos–with a bunch of lovely people who were much older than us, and who became our friends. Many times during those years, I heard singing referred to as “making a joyful noise”, and this seems just right. I would never have stepped out of the group to sing a solo, but my sister did so easily and brilliantly.

We are who we are: products of our gene pool and our birth order, certainly; and what life throws at us, and how we meet those challenges, and what we learn from them…And what else? I suppose it takes a lifetime to figure it out.


1. “Jack’s Trip Ashore” (panel 7 of 9), Unknown artist

2. “Sunday Night Was Singing Night”. James Bentley (1921-2004)

3. Maria Callas, “Casta Diva”, Vicenzo Bellini

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