The moon changed and brought in the true dampness of winter this week. No longer nourishing showers falling from above. It’s a cold and driving rain that chills you deep. Even when you’re inside.
I like to think that living in a climate like this tends to help in understanding the depth of what it means to be inside. To carve out a separate space and shape it for ourselves. We are not just clothed in nature and the world but deep within us, there rests a place untouched profound and undescribed. And I recognize the yearning in all the faces around me that it would be revealed.
And that’s why when I look for inspiration I look at those who have gone before, who have grappled and wrested something from this experience and have sought to give it voice. Give it shape or words. Something tangible that others can experience as well.
That haunting and vast space contained by the transept of St. Peter’s or Hagia Sophia.
Constructed in Constantinople in 537AD by the order of the Emperor; Αγία Σοφία becomes the third church of the holy wisdom to occupy the site… the largest building in the world and the largest cathedral for a thousand years. That is until the gold of the new world can fund a larger one in Seville.
A space we do not recognize nor comprehend. As alien as life beyond our stars. It lasts solely to contain the invisible presence and experience of holy wisdom itself. This vast unknowable wisdom to which we can attach no name and to which we can properly only respond. To live this experience and give it voice. And few are those who manage to succeed in hearing this calling and have it reach our crumpled and distorted world.
Hagia Sophia managed to do it for a thousand, three-hundred and ninety-four years until was made into a museum and fell into disrepair and abuse in 1931. A time my parents lived in. Today it serves as the destination point for dinner and a selfie. Or a short sit on a bench in this hard and foreign place. To wait for the bus that got you there on time for the tour and back again for lunch.
I don’t think Palestrina ever misunderstood what he was doing and it shows. I can close my eyes and rest.
I let the sound wash over me like a sheet of wind flowing across the landscape. Hear the breath of the heavens above in that wondrous space between earth and sky where we all live together inside. Along with this sacred space reserved for the soul.
Have a good weekend everyone.