Thursday, May 24, 2007

Keats said it

I cry at beauty.

What I mean by that is when I come across a truth, whether profound or simple, I cry. I may not shed tears, but there is a great heaving in my soul that is cathartic and deep and cherished and pleasing, and this Truth-Moment that makes me experience all that, is beauty.

For example, I am having lunch today with a friend who is also a work client of sorts, but a friend first and foremost, and we are sitting at a table on the sidewalk outside a restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. It is probably 80 degrees in the direct sun, but a six-foot wide black canvas umbrella partially shades me, which is good, because I’m in long sleeves because this is, after all, a little bit about business. He is in short sleeves, feeling really relaxed, sunglasses on. He is drinking an iced tea, me an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade mixed – love it; another friend/business client introduced me to the drink in Baltimore at Legal Seafood). We order our lunches – he is having a Cobb Salad, I the blackened chicken alfredo.

So we start to catch each other up on family matters and work matters. And conversation flows between what our kids are doing in school – he has four, I have three – whether their teachers are great or awful and should be fired-and-the-principal-is-not-much-better, and then we talk about what our wives are up to, his went to Las Vegas for a business conference; “isn’t Las Vegas such a bizarre place,” “yes, it is,” and then we get into work matters and what is going on at my institution now that my boss (the leader) resigned, what was it like working for him, what do you think is going to happen now; no, really, everything is really cool right now because we have an interim chief executive who is steady at the helm…

…and we’re sitting talking while the sun is bearing down for which all New Englanders are eternally grateful and, yes, the Sox are still in first place, and we are shooting the breeze and our food takes forever to come, but it doesn’t matter, because this guy and I – who knew each other first as friends when our families hung together in the dorms of the graduate school that we went to – are just … hanging out. Talking. Under the canvas umbrella. And nothing else mattered. And it was sheer bliss.

And after our lunch I am driving back to the North Shore and listening to Faith Hill pour her heart out on the “Cry” CD and then Phil Vassar on his Greatest Hits album which is the best greatest hits album because it’s not just a re-mix and it’s got a lot of nifty little piano segues, and I am just musing on life while I drive.

And I get to the office and work a bit and then work is over and I call my buddy in Colorado and we have a very cool chat. It is actually very high energy because things have just changed professionally on his end, and he’s not sure whether he likes it all but he’s kinda taking it day by day and we’re, too, just kinda shooting the breeze, and he is saying things that are so TRUE, and I am just laughing my head off cuz he’s cussing like a sailor and he doesn’t realize how funny he is and it is beauty in a way because he is truth embodied and is so unaware of how much I am enjoying this conversation and so unaware of himself; he is totally unpretentious – NObody would ever accuse him of pretentiousness, they’d as soon accuse him of being the King of Siam…and at this burst – this five- or six-hour burst – of humanity and love between friends and truth about kids and families and work and life and hearing him curse and just making me belly laugh…

I cry.

Not out loud. And not with tears.

But I am just so grateful to have these two men to talk to, and just so grateful to have a family and a job to talk about, and just so…grateful.

I cry.

It’s at beauty.

Which is truth.

photo: alixmorse

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