Sunday, April 03, 2011


“Nice duet you sang,” said my friend, advancing boldly in my direction at the close of the church service. He wore the grin of a Cheshire cat, and turned to beckon his granny who was following closely behind. I turned his way, surprised as he had intended, waiting in momentary silence for the joke to be unveiled.
“Duet?” said a bystander, giving voice to the confusion she saw in my eyes. “I didn’t hear a duet. I thought it was a solo.”
“No,’’ said my friend. “It was a duet. Granny was singing along.”
Not surprising that I hadn’t heard Granny, that only a few people heard Granny singing. I, after all, had been granted sole custody of the microphone. I said as much to Granny, who replied with the gracious acknowledgement that she didn’t mind singing without the mike.
I picture her now, her behaviour less filtered than it used to be, the lone joiner singing spiritedly along to an old favourite, a song she learned in childhood and practiced decade upon decade, Sunday after Sunday in churches wherever she might be. I picture her now, her natural self. She would sing with the congregation. She would sing with the radio. She would sing doing housework. She would sing in the shower.
Music, it seems, lodges deep in the heart, thrusting forth toward the smallest invitation, blooming in the warm light long after other life blossoms have faded. I wonder then about the treasures that might be trapped in the filters that govern us. In those moments when I believed myself to be carrying the full weight of attention, when I felt the vulnerability of singing alone, were there others singing also, singing silently? Was there, after all, unheard by any of us, actually a small choir supporting me, a full chorus?

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