>It is Saturday, which means little when one is immersed close to drowning, in a project of passion. The work piles up and it has to be done. Calls must be made, parties planned, singers scheduled, invites printed, calls made to recalcitrant wine donors and tricky plans made to hang lights, and make dances in a theater space often unavailable for rehearsal at the same time as actors. It is a logistical nightmare, even with all the artistic stuff removed. Making an opera full of sound and fury and tiny set and major light and dance and props and found costumes. And I know you all get it.
But add to this my most insane decision to make all the opening night gifts from clay. This means going into the pottery studio on Chambers Street to throw on the wheel the bowls or cups, or pitchers or planters. Then these have to be trimmed, then fired once, then glazed and fired again. At any point, just like theater they can fall apart. Quit on you like a cast member or you budget. Explode in the fiery kiln or have the glaze run and stick and look more like an elementary school gift that only a mother can love.
So this morning I was going into the studio early. After all the phone calls to new singers, scheduling confabs and dropping off postcards at local markets and restaurants. I was going to sit at the wheel and spin and ruminate. Of course I had a list of all the other things I had to do, and silly as it may seems, calling my kids in France was on the list. I hadn’t wanted to hover so I haven’t called in a few days. I have my special super cheap, bought in a bodega, cardboard calling cards that require dialing many numbers, a skill I am particularly poor at, because my extreme dyslexia often messes me up mid-dial and have to start over. So I was waiting until later.
But I kept getting jangled in my head by my daughter. I do think of her often, but there is a certain buzz that is a real call. So I braved the multiple digits, had to redo twice since the first cards were used up. Tossed them and began again. I got her on the fifth ring and she was laughing. “Hey, it’s your mama.” She is still laughing, so I ask, “What’s up?”
“Well, I was thinking of you so so much and I thought I have to stop thinking about her because I can’t talk right now and I was trying to cancel the thoughts, like hanging up mid-dial, but I guess it didn’t work.”
This is no longer amazing is us. Perhaps others think it is bunkum, a lie, a good yarn to evince closeness, but it is a scientific as any other unproven fact. The earth still revolved around the sun even when folks said it didn’t. And many scientists have been exploring all the portions of our brain we don’t ever use and it just sits there waiting to be discovered and believed in. This is one of those parts. A way to communicate beyond words, and cheap paper phone cards and emails, and text messages and Hallmark cards. It is such a deep, and vibrant communication that even a quick touch where we laugh at being babe to make each other call is wonderful.
I know my son Henry has the ability to some extent, but he is happier believing that the earth is the center of the universe and doesn’t want to believe in magic, or communication beyond the phone or email. Sometimes he enjoys its wacky nature but mostly he wants, “Nothing but the facts, Mom.” I bet in his lifetime there will be scientific data to shore up why Willi and I can call across time lines and phone lines and reach other more clearly than if there was an email saying “Please call me.” That I can ignore, but the buzzing, unanswered shout-out from the south of France while climbing the steps of a cathedral is something I can’t and will never ignore.