Sometimes the ordered arrangement of black marks on white paper comes in through the eye, travels to the brain and then burrows down into the body, finding all the secret corners of the Soul and awakening it to its remembered purpose.
Other times the words stay on the page, powerless to ignite and leaving us without heat or light.
Sometimes the ordered arrangement of sounds in the air come in through the ear and melt the frozen armor of the heart, release our full capacity to feel the beauty that eludes us in the workaday world.
Other times they fail to penetrate and are just meaningless sounds and vibrations.
Sometimes the Christmas tree glistens with the remembered wonder of childhood alive in each family ornament and casts light on a path to a shining future that we have forgotten.
Other times it is simply a collection of dead objects hanging on a dying tree.
Sometimes the sight of our beloved fills us with mystery and romance, lifts us “high above the moonlit skies” and puts us in company with the “angels dining at the Ritz.” *
Sometimes they’re just a body on the bed taking too many covers and snoring.
Where is the switch that turns the mundane to the sublime or plunges that which once illuminated us into a darkness that fails to connect? Why can a poem, piece of music, a sunset or person move us to tears one moment and leave us cold the next? Knowing that art and life are fickle mistresses, how can we open ourselves so that we might yet again be struck speechless by beauty, listen to a poem as if our lives depended on it, feel the spark of romance re-kindled from the ashes?
* First quote from jazz tune "Darn That Dream," the second from "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square."