Listening to Beethoven’s Archduke Trio

Alex McIntosh
Featured Image: Three-quarter cello © A. Anupama 2017

The tall flame dances above the base of the oil lamp from the monastery gift shop.
Ridged and speckled, the blue fired clay is crafted like circles and holes
in limestone cliffs along the river, carved by the water’s soft spinning.
Did a monk make this? I wonder as bright piano notes rise and fall, bolstered
by sweeping gusts of cello. I’m reminded of a gym class game, when a squirming circle of
elementary schoolers tried to keep a feather airborne using just our breath.
Giggling and stumbling into the middle, I’d lift my chin and suck in my belly, the warm
air catching the craft store feather by delicate threads, lofting it clumsily
back towards the rafters. Does art replicate nature, or is it the other way around?
The spinning river, the leaping flame, the eight-year-old laughing, unquestioningly
assured that her soft breath is enough to keep the whole shining thing afloat.