Beauty over Bombs

OMFG I needed Sigur Rós this week. Their set last night at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was like being visited by an angelic presence. Cherubim and seraphim, people! It made me want to have more children, simply so more humans could experience magesty on that level.  After a week like this one, with the tragic occurances in Boston and Texas and Washington D.C., you’d think I’d be feeling the exact opposite.  But beauty is more compelling to me than safety.

I have never experienced sound wedded to light in such an enchanting way as I did at the Sigur Rós show. Seeing them live has always been a desire of mine, since everyone has told me it is breathtaking, so when I got a surprise birthday ticket from a friend, I had to take her up on it.

Photo by Saskia Mauro

Photo by Saskia Mauro

Sitting on the stair of the balcony, I let it all wash over me and felt tremendously grateful, that in a world of makeshift bombs that blow off limbs, the 11 people in that band have committed their lives to art-making. They travelled from Iceland to play music for us in San Francisco, leaving their families to share their gifts with the world.

They’ve chosen beauty over bombs.

The music of Sigur Rós is already contemplative, so I was quickly in a prayerful space. I meditated for a bit on the bombing, sending love and healing to the injured in Boston, and to all the people affected by violence this week, the world over.

The music darkened and deepened, and I was taken to a place of praying for the bombers. It is twisted and sad to even for one minute try to put myself in the place of people so desperate and ruined that they would do such a thing. But I prayed for them anyway. They really, really, really need it. Their hearts are opaque at this point, so hardened by intentional violence.

Did it turn out the way they’d hoped? Would they be chagrined to know that the huge outpouring of love and strength that followed has shown most of us the goodness of our people, rather than the evil? (Don’t get me started on the NY Post. Not everyone’s response to this is going to be kind-hearted or true. I’m no Pollyanna.) They sought to terrify us, but New Englanders don’t scare that easy, and what they’ve done is deeply grieve us, instead.  Do they realize the difference between the two?  So many questions arose in me. But then the sounds lightened, and Jónsi’s voice called out like a siren, holding the same impossible note for two full minutes, and I was brought back to a place of joy.

Photo by Saskia Mauro

Photo by Saskia Mauro

It’s been hard to find joy this week. Even my dance classes have been subdued — all of us struggling to wade through the shit to find our footing again. I realized that I just have to take it when it arises, like a last-minute chance to see a concert, a heartwarming encounter with my child, a deep conversation at a bar. (P.S. Drinking with 25 year olds is no joke, especially when you have to be up at 6am with your toddler. Repent!)

I have been doing so much processing of the attacks this week, as well I should. But when I get really mired down in it, I remember that a moment of joy will come soon. I have to wait for it, and then grab on to it with both hands, allowing it to pull me up, even for a short while.

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