Rapt again, I listen. In anticipation, my pulse has quickened a bit more. Circling out of the development, I pull into the Chevron station to the words “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!” (The irony of my stuffing a nozzle from “big-oil” into my gas tank is lost on me.)
Back in the Nissan after the fill up, I switch off the radio. I want to think about what I’ve just heard and savor the delivery. I wonder whether the message would have survived had Dr. King simply read his notes. Genius that he was, King composed notes. But when the time was right, he left them for some other dimension.
IT IS STILL MONDAY, January 16, and we are driving the many miles between the grandkids and home. Noma is snoozing upright in the seat next to me. I’ve switched FM stations to the Bay Area’s home of classical music. The woman controlling the turntable says, “You might want to turn up your volume a bit so you don’t miss the beginning.” Dutifully, I do so.
About fourteen minutes into the composition, my heart rate is elevated yet again. I’m doing 68 in the middle lane, Noma is still asleep next to me, but folks on either side are whisking by in the darkness, needing to go faster. I move to the right lane and prepare to sing the bass [bAse] line.
Following one early performance, a woman patron said to Ravel: “You’re a crazy man!” His response? “Oh. So you’ve listened to my music.”
AROUND DIXON, some twenty-five miles hence, I am still drumming on the wheel and humming Ravel’s work when I dawns on me: The Bolero is never over – and neither, I’m hoping as I drive along in the dark, is the dream.
I wonder whether Martin and Maurice’s paths have crossed in heaven.
Church of the Open Road Press