i walked to my apartment from the train station tonight, enjoying a chilly spring evening in berkeley. i was on my way back from tailgating at the oakland A’s opening game, and was prepared for the cold with my fur-lined bomber jacket over a hoodie. the *real* kind of hoodie, an $11 grey hanes pullover i got at target, not some effete stylish thing bought with the purpose of impressing people with my discerning taste.
i stepped on fallen cherry blossoms ground into the sidewalk by countless commuters, and paused for several minutes to admire the ones still in the tree under a sodium lamp. a nearby jasmine bush made the moment of still contemplation all the more pleasant, and the passing traffic served as an unwelcome distraction.
there is a conservatory that takes up most of the block before my apartment. or at least i think it is a conservatory. in the daytime there are elementary school kids there and in the evening i occasionally hear orchestral groups practicing. tonight there was a large choral group in the room closest to the sidewalk, singing a lyricless section of a piece. a glimmer of recognition stopped me in my tracks and i moved closer to the open windows to listen. the phrasing and the structure of the chords were familiar and it took me a couple of minutes to realize they were performing a polyphonic spree song.
once again the traffic on the street kept drowning the beauty of the music echoing across the parking lot. big cities make moments like this possible, but the congestion can stifle their breathing.