The opening notes tug me
to the university library,
first floor, sunny room near
the entrance, French Lit class
sixty years ago. We sit
at a round table. The music
opens with birds chirping
in the country and water
tumbling in the brook. Then
pizzicato notes from the cellos.

I don’t know why Dr. Nicol is
playing Beethoven’s 6th
in French Lit class—maybe
he’s had a rough night and
needs a break. He’s also
the tennis coach. I play first
doubles. At a restaurant
after each away-match he drinks
a Gibson, a pickled onion
at the bottom of his glass.

The Pastoral Symphony stuns
me. It clinks over stones, livens
into folk dancing, then darkens
with a thunderstorm scattering
the dancers. It has lightness and
fervor and possibility—connects
me to work I love: haymaking,
scrambling to load bales onto
the trucks and wagons before
a summer shower.

When I find the dusty CD next to
the Pathétique, I am back in that
sunny library room—my life
about to open.