Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Mozart in Hagersville

It is a languid July evening, and the mosquitoes have not yet come out to feast. The ladies sit in a circle of lawn chairs, mellow after a delicious meal of cold roast beef, and ham, and fresh salads. The men are gathered near the back of the yard, playing bocce ball, carrying on about how close or how far, or whatever. I sip my tea and look around at this big backyard, with it's many planters full of flowers, the little sandbox in the corner, and the sky opening up behind it over the field as if you could walk forever in that direction and not meet a single soul.
I am amazed once again at how comfortable this place has become, how familiar, only a year after my parents have made it their home. This little house in Hagersville that feels like a hideaway cottage.

My aunt is imploring my cousin Whitney to sing. "C'mon, Whit, just one song!"
Whitney is a lovely tall thing who is studying opera at University. She has long dark hair up in a ponytail, high cheekbones, eyes that are like greeny brown lanterns, and freckles. She stands up, quietly tells us that she will do an aria from The Marriage of Figaro, and begins to sing.

Her voice pushes the air away on either side of her, and reaches out to us like cool water. It is lovely. And soulful. And you know what she sings about, even though it is in Italian. Heartache. Lost love. And it kind of reaches into your heart and finds your own long buried sad bits and shines them up a little.

The guys stop playing and stand there, listening. The ladies nod their faraway heads. Beside us, I see the silohuette of two neighbors, leaning forward, catching this breeze of beauty through the screen of their kitchen window. It is a moment in time.

Whitney finishes.

We are still.

Then everyone takes a breath, a sip, a scratch. A ball hits the ground with a thunk, the men resume their game, a baby cries, and the ladies start talking again.

And that is Mozart in Hagersville.


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