Last night the actors trod the boards carrying us on their backs. This wasn’t Pittsburgh but we believed it so. We’ve never been to the Hill but we walked its blighted streets. In the mirror we are white, but not last evening. He is five years dead but last night August Wilson escorted us to a place we had never imagined, and we were all too glad to visit.
The clouds this evening are the deep gray that so long to be black, but the retreated sun just below the horizon lingers long enough to deny them.
The space, shrinking, between the clouds, is the gray of promise that the night will soon deny, and the birds who take over the preserve, chant their vespers, each in his or her own language, uncommon tongues singing their hymn punctured, punctuated by the flapping of wings, as the night encloses us in a cocoon that will carry us into the coming morning.
The clouds well up over the foothills casting a gray pall, bearing the angry spirits of the chindi who dance amid the scrub juniper. Brother Serra, was this what you found, wandering along the coast, tending the odd sheep, Indian and whatever else crossed your path?
The blue bird hopping across the dried grasses puffing its grey breastplate and cape sitting back, its long tail feathers a perfect counterbalance. It stares at the oppressing clouds and senses the impending rain. The horses wandering the hill pausing to graze on the sparse green grasses. The roan mare stares at the colt dashing among the trees then returns to her meal, awaiting the onset of evening.
The chindi await the fall of night when they are free to roam and steal other souls. Was your water rite more powerful than the blessing chants? Did you ward off their evil and purify the breeze of the mountains?
It begins lowly quietly, then grows builds until, all players together, it hits a point where you hope it is a crescendo, but it still grows ever louder and you retreat from the club, half-finished glass of wine on the table, knowing that when you reach the back door your evening is over.
The sun is preparing still another departure. He moves with a ponderousness that you wouldn’t expect of him, he who should be all passion consuming the sky, painting clouds. We expect his return by morning, he has never yet disappointed but Luna, lingering at the horizon, a diva making her slow entry, shines fully as if saying tonight you won’t miss him — the day may be short, but I will make the long night bright and mine is one you need not look away from.
An evening summer retreating in the face of autumn, two garnacha, a piano, bass, drums, her voice lifts the weight of the sky and we float up on a melody, unchained. In heaven George and Ira smile and we, here, smile with them.
She left this evening, slid away silently her goodbyes long ago said. She was a feather carried on a gentle breeze, refusing to land, until at last the earth reached up and reclaimed her, and she settled gently, her voyage over, our memories of her smile, her nod, her knowing winks, now fixed for eternity.