Running in the early morning sun, I realized that it was Mozart’s fault. Were it not for Mozart, I might be running down an entirely different road as the sun dawned on the horizon. Mozart, you see, enchants me with his siren songs and changes that I would make in my life become impossible. Let me explain.
Growing up on a lake in rural northern Indiana, a part of me has always remained there. The lake, with all of its moods, was a powerful force in my development and taught me self reliance. When we go back for a visit, I long to stay, to settle in and take up where I left off nearly half a century ago.
The feeling tends to stay with me throughout the year and becomes especially strong as I contend with the congested life that is suburban Maryland. Every time some lout turns left from the right turn lane and flaunts his flagrant disregard for others with his middle finger extended out the window, I long for the more civil manners in the Midwest. Watching others run stop signs and red lights causes a similar longing. It is a longing that becomes particularly intense when I swat the hood of yet another car as it, ignoring cross walk and stop sign, tries to run me down. As to that, there is a certain satisfaction to occasionally see coffee spill as the driver is snapped back to attention and they mouth I’m sorry as I yell at them. Others, with no coffee to spill, will not look at me but look at some imaginary point in the distance as I berate them for their bad behavior. I have been told that someone might shoot me one day for getting in their way, for reminding them that there are others on this planet. Since, so far, most have a child or two in the back seat, I feel the odds are in my favor. They should pay me for the comic relief I provide as they are chauffeured to school.
That I don’t turn my back on this sort of behavior is Mozart’s fault. Mozart, you see, is accessible in the Baltimore-Washington area. Besides a couple of excellent FM stations which frequently play his music, there are numerous venues to see and hear his music performed. In rural northern Indiana, Mozart, while not unknown, is only an occasional visitor. FM reception of stations carrying classical music stinks; the usual FM fare being a melange of religious, country and pop. To see a live performance takes commitment as possible venues lie 30 or more miles away.
Even so, I think, as I run towards my shortening shadow, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. The opportunities may be fewer, but surely some exist. But, Mozart reminds me, he is not the only reason that we remain wedded to the area. ?Your life isn’t just about me,? he chides, ?you do other things.? True, I think. I doubt that there is a good alternative movie theater within 100 miles of my home stomping grounds. Most of the movies we see these days are in so-called art movie houses and they would be difficult to give up. ?There is no Wolf Trap either,? he reminds me. No, I think, no where in the state of Indiana.
But, of course, Mozart is just a cover for the realization that we probably would not be able to adapt to life in rural Indiana. In short, we just wouldn’t fit in any longer. The lake I grew up on actually leads a Jekyll and Hyde existence. It is Jekyll in the summer; affable charming, seductive, providing non-stop entertainment. Warm days and soft nights foster an intimacy with the water. By October, however, Jekyll turns into Hyde and the lake becomes hostile. Dark, cold and damp days and nights follow one another in endless succession. People retreat to their living rooms and endless TV. Bears hibernating can be more communal.
?Magic Flute this weekend,? the voice insinuated as I continued to chase my shadow and I surrendered to the realization that you can’t go home again. Until next time, that is. It’s Mozart’s fault.