April 25, 2010
“The woman’s song, however, could have been a signal called by one mountain wayfarer to another on a distant hill. In certain long notes which lay outside the passage of time because the rhythm was suspended, there was the immeasurable melancholy of mountain twilights. Telling himself it was a beautiful song, he decided to stand still and let it work upon him whatever spell it could. With this music it was senseless to say, because the same thing happened over and over within a piece, that once you knew what was coming next you did not need to listen to the end. Unless you listened to it all, there was not way of knowing what effect it was going to have on you. It might take ten minutes or it might take an hour, but any judgment you passed on the music before it came to its end was likely to be erroneous. And so he stood there, his mind occupied with uncommon, half-formed thoughts. At moments the music made it possible for him to look directly into the center of himself and see the black spot there which was the eternal…”—Paul Bowles, The Spider’s House.
A shakuhachi improvisation. Meditation #27