The fear

I went to my singing les­son last night under a calm, slight­ly over­cast sky. It was already dusk. It’s not sum­mer yet, more like win­ter and fear.

Since Fri­day, my company’s employ­ees have been assigned to work from home. The sub­way trains look like hun­gry snakes ; we don’t know if what crawls into their bel­lies are vic­tims, reck­less peo­ple, or just ordi­nary cit­i­zens strug­gling with their lone­ly destiny.

Fear is felt. A few masked per­sons look before them like life­less, salty stat­ues. As the new sub­way trains are with­out walls, the air com­ing from the head is rak­ing in a full sweep. What we breathe may be poi­soned, there’s noth­ing to check the soup of bac­te­ria hit­ting us in the face.

I have to walk fif­teen min­utes out of the sta­tion to get to my teacher’s res­i­dence. Again, not many peo­ple. The trees are left to their own devices, not hav­ing to fear the evil that eats away at the human race. We don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly feel more com­fort­able in their com­pa­ny because our fate is in the hands of inescapable plan­e­tary cycles. Sat­urn and Plu­to, in their palimpsest dance, are still tap­ping our fin­gers. When it is not war, dic­ta­tor­ships or Trump, they sprin­kle us every thir­ty, thir­ty-five years with a plague that forces us to review our youth­ful opti­mism as if Moth­er Nature and the Uni­verse were reg­u­lat­ing their too unsta­ble inven­tions in their own way.

Life seems to be a lab­o­ra­to­ry where the more chaot­ic exper­i­ments of one anoth­er threat­en to blow away the walls.

We are afraid as soon as we are born, and we for­get this all too quick­ly. The present anx­i­ety, height­ened ten­fold by loud­speak­ers that have become tech­no­log­i­cal­ly gigan­tic, is thus noth­ing new. We rush around on toi­let paper as if we want­ed to hide the fact that our panties are already soiled with fear.

I sang Bux­te­hude. A beau­ti­ful piece, but dif­fi­cult to ren­der when you have to do it at the right tem­po. Curi­ous, though, that it is so beau­ti­ful both in slow motion and at full speed. Per­haps that’s where the genius lies. Life and death are the same things. It depends on the speed of the gaze and our attitudes.

Back home, there was an e‑mail from my teacher who told all his stu­dents that it would be bet­ter to final­ly post­pone class­es until calm is restored. It’s time for con­fine­ment and sim­ple ges­tures, for mutu­al help. Some­times the days are as unpre­dictable as a dream walk­ing the tightrope between enchant­ment and nightmare.