Gray Days and Today’s Soundtrack

Saturdays are sometimes a drag. I always feel like I should be doing something other than whatever I happen to be doing. If I’m doing schoolwork, I want to be playing Hamlet; if I’m out window shopping, I think I should be in doing housework.

But today was not bad at all. And, although my day didn’t really have any kind of direction, I felt I was just where I needed to be, doing what I needed to do. I spent the morning in bed, reading and drifting in and out of sleep. Sweet. Then I got up around noon and by 1:30 or so I was out shopping for Muffy’s Mother’s Day present (and found a good one). The rest of the day I spent just doing whatever came up: going to the grocery store, going over a few exercises with Hamlet, washing dishes.

The best – albeit briefest – part of the day was spent sitting on the sofa looking at the gray day through the french doors. I love gray days. Overcast days have a certain visual quietness that makes sunny days feel harsh. Don’t get me wrong: sunshine is just splendid. But it seems to intrude on my thoughts. When the sun shines, I can go outside, bask in it, frolic under dogwood trees heavy with blossoms, blah blah blah; but I can’t really hear myself think. On a cloudy day, I can be anywhere, even in a huge crowd, and still hear myself. So I guess clouds help me know who I am. Go figure.

If I like an overcast day, I love a rainy night. what I really love is when it rains hard enough to hear inside my apartment. Tonight is just such a night, and I’m looking forward to falling asleep to the pitter pat outside my window.

So, what music do I like with my gray days? It varies. Today I’ve been listening to some favorites by Marisa Monte, Maria Rita, Mylene, Bebel Gilberto, and Ceu. The thing I like about all of their singing is that I can listen intently to every note or let them drift into the background, which is something I can’t say about a whole lot of vocalists. My favorite on this particular gray day? Marisa Monte’s “Universo ao meu Redor” (“Universe around Me”). Check this:

Graças a Deus um passarinho
vem me acompanhar cantando bem baixinho

e eu já não me sinto só

tão só, tão só
com o universo ao meu redor

(Thank God a little bird
accompanies me singing low
and I no longer feel alone
so alone, so alone
with the universe around me)

Don’t you just love that?

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