As I write this article, I'm listening to Samuel Barber's 'Knoxville, Summer of 1915', a choral piece which I discovered by hearing it performed live at the New York Philharmonic a few months before the coronavirus exodus. The text is a poem which talks beautifully (and I think sincerely, and, thus, not sentimentally) about the poet's childhood in his hometown. I didn't think, when I happened to hear the piece, that I would be spending the end of my final semester at home, but, c'est la vie.
The "horror" of this article's title is an exaggeration, but I do tend to think of this whole phenomenon as apocalyptic (granted, I already thought of graduating college as apocalyptic, so this whole thing is doubly so), so it's something else to be back in Quincy, Massachusetts for a good part of it. I have a good memory (or so I like to think, and so other people tell me), and it's bizarre to have it stirred by thoughts of my life pre-Fordham University. I feel like I was an entirely different person four years ago; I guess it's normal to feel that way by the end of undergrad. (And my reflections on the distant past are helped along by how my dad is a teacher in the Quincy Public Schools, which I attended.) The cover photo of this reflection was taken yesterday as I was going for a little walk. There are a lot of things that come to mind when I think of my hometown; though it doesn't have much on rural Maine or Cape Cod, natural beauty is one of them.
The piece of music I cited at the beginning is a universe of emotion wrapped into the memory of one childhood evening. I suppose that I can hope, having made the resolution to grow as a poet however I can, that this odd experience will inspire me in surprising ways.