The elusive knowledge

Modifié le : 2019/08/06

I met W. at the gro­cery store. He’s the same age, a few days apart, like my father. W. was a mem­ber of the Ensem­ble vocal Ganymède for a few years. He left last year. I saw him tired and, to be hon­est, on the decline. Yes­ter­day, he offered me a por­trait far from that first impres­sion. He now sings in anoth­er choir, find­ing the work of our very demand­ing con­duc­tor tedious and exhaust­ing. There, he is hap­py in his revis­it­ing of Bach’s Mass in B.

As always, this man amazes me, and I have a deep respect for him. I would like to be like him “at his age,” as they say. Artist, actor, he nev­er stops flirt­ing with mul­ti­ple projects. He is learn­ing (or has learned) Span­ish, gui­tar, is cur­rent­ly bang­ing Charles Tay­lor’s big brick, A Sec­u­lar Ages.

Homo­sex­u­al, he was all mar­ried, had one or two chil­dren. And I learn, dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, that he had done his the­ol­o­gy or at least he wrote a mas­ter’s degree in this field.

—I reread my the­sis, writ­ten in the sixties.

He stops, smiles, his mind obvi­ous­ly try­ing to find the right word about these years of illusion.

—I real­ized I did­n’t know this, not that. I had not yet lived.

—You’re dif­fer­ent now.

He smiled at me again, his face light­ing up with the lit­tle can­dle in the mind of a man who has seen oth­ers. He could have been Gold­mund smil­ing at Nar­cis­sus before he died, hap­py to have explored the over­flow­ing sen­su­al­i­ty of the Universe.

I could have asked him what he now knows that he did­n’t know then. I think he would not have known how to answer me because that knowl­edge of life that soaks into the pores of our many thoughts is as intan­gi­ble as it is evanes­cent, a kind of cheer­ful Niet­zsche-style experience.

This is what I feel most about this ven­er­a­ble man, the frag­ile tragi­com­e­dy of our fru­gal moments on the planet.

I too want to remain a child of knowl­edge, I hope to live a long life, unaware of how to gorge myself on the hon­ey of life.

Long live to you, W.