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Well, it’s been a very long time. I found that, when it comes to the content of this blog, what I originally intended to write did not match what I was actually comfortable writing. I like to maintain clear boundaries between personal and private, and this space is very grey, very grey.

So from here on out I’ll just see where my intuition takes me. I’m afraid some posts will get very abstract and very vague.

I don’t want to write anything about What Aging Is, but I’ve noticed what it can be. It can be social isolation. Old friends move away or die. Children grow older and focus on their own lives. It takes energy to learn new things. It takes energy to meet new people.

Many elderly people seem to be only interested in the past, only interested in sharing what they have seen and what they have done. Bitter remarks about the present, a disinterest or antipathy in learning anything new.

It can be exhausting to be the recipient of so much history, so much concentrated loneliness – to be the recipient of a one-way brain dump. Exhausting to have an interest in a person who has very few friends – someone who pushes, someone who needs, someone who is to be pitied.

Exhausting to negotiate standing one’s ground, maintaining one’s own and the other’s dignity, protecting the other’s feelings.

Exhausting to negotiate time lines, a fantasy option of simply walking away. How much distance to maintain?

Unfortunately the biological response to an elderly person is not the same as a biological response to a baby.

Aging populations.

Dysfunctional communities.

People in need.

To do one’s best… It can be exhausting.

Obliquely, I was thinking of Purcell. I’d confused him with William Byrd.

The solace of solitude:


O VIRGO SPLENDENS. This piece is a cac’a, or medieval canon for three voices, in which the second and third voicessimply repeat the music and words sung by the first. As is partly true of the other two canons contained in the same manuscript, the parallel fourths, fifths and octaves bear witness ot the very old form used in this composition. Whoever wrote it was closely acquainted with the contrapuntal technique of the 12th and 13th centuries, and was also thoroughly familiar with Gregorian chant. Up to this point there is no similar example in the history of medieval music: that of a canon sung in unmeasured rhythm and sounding like “sulcis armonia,” which is the title the composer gave it. It is a canon such as the “fadrins musichs” might have sung in the shrine of Montserrat to create a suitable atmosphere and put the faithful in the proper frame of mind to hear the rest of their musical offerings.

O Virgo splendens hic in monte celso, miraculis serrato, fulgentibus ubique, quem fideles conscendunt universi. Eia, pietatis oculo placato, cerne ligatos fune peccatorum, ne infernorum ictibus graventur, sed cum beatis tua prece vocentur.

Capilla Musical y Escolania de Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos
(Fray Luis Loazano OSB, Director)
Atrium Musicau
(Gregoria Paniagua, Director)