And it arrived, packed up in a song I've known since childhood. Mother's Delight by Altan seemed almost like a friend, almost human. At times four human friends, talking to me in different tongues. It was a medley of four reels that had been picked up by the band from everywhere. The eponymous Mother's Delight occupied the leading space, and an unnamed reel rolled on peacefully where it let off.
But the most illustrious in the medley would be Ormond Sound and Mike Hoban's Reel that shoved up the stage zealously two minutes into the music; These two reels seemed to say different things to me at different times, since on their own they are without words, only the raw emotions of flute, fiddle, bodhrán and guitar chorusing. Three years ago it manifested my anger towards my peers when I was unable to conform. Three months ago it was a musical embodiment of a girl I admired from afar.
The breeziness of the nameless reel stops, whereupon the accusing voices of flute and fiddle speak out in unison in quick and tireless syllables. The guitarist keeps his head low, taking it all in and plucks at the strings dilligently, and tension builds up in an increasingly accentuated and breathless staccato. The rhythm for the bodhrán does not seem to change, but it's become obvious to the ear and takes on the stance of an attentive spectator.
Ormond sound leaves the scene as abruptly as it entered: the flute and fiddle duo retreats from the center of the stage, and the guitarist promptly reasserts his dominance with full, forceful chords that strum earthy colours into an unearthy augment. Although the bodhrán has become indistinguishable from the rest of the music, it had in fact gone wild and blended perfectly, maybe possessing each of the other instruments. The wooden taps could be heard in the flute, the fiddle, the guitar, shoving all three down the catwalk.
In the inevitable end, as things are wont to happen in energetic Irish medleys, the other characters on stage fall away into silence without warning, leaving the bemused flautist to clean up the mess.
Yes, I've been reading the Pilgrimage, and I'm very much at home with it. The things they brand rituals may be what I've been doing for a very long time. I am sceptical about magic and its getting-tied-up-with Catholicism, though I wouldn't bring myself to ignore the dang brilliance in the RAM exercises, with their frank plainness and realism.
People who search for a higher reality are not being unrealistic. It's different from running away from reality, and more akin to hurling oneself bodily into it from an outside vantage point.
It's getting late.