Stabat Mater - A Nudge to Look
Contributor
Written by
Elisabeth Kinsey
March 2011
Contributor
Written by
Elisabeth Kinsey
March 2011

From my blog: Under 200 Lbs. in Beacon http://mykinseylife.blogspot.com/

 

I’ve written about Stabat Mater before.  I was a nanny, babysitting for kids whose parents were staying at the brother’s flat in Campo di Fiori.  They owned a flat in Campo di Fiori.  Rome, Italy.  Some people have charmed lives.  If you’re not familiar with one of the most quaint squares in all of Italy, I’ve posted someone’s photo.  To give you an example of its charm, while I was there in May or June, (1989) the square had a film series, where at ten pm, they showed an older black and white comedy a la Charlie Chaplin, but with an Italian silent picture star.  In the corner of the square, (old, mis-matched stone buildings, patina perfectly peeling, randomly placed bright laundry), the bakery sold cream filled pastries for the cinema crowd.  Bougainvillea and Wisteria: instead of these vines we baby and grow indoors and then lose to a foul wind in Colorado, they thrive easily and abundantly through the lanes and down the side of flower boxes and roofs.  Its abundance is a must in Italy.  Italians don’t like beautiful things, they need beauty or life is not worth living. 

     Later that week, when the kids were with parents, I opened the door to the brother’s wife playing Stabat Mater.  It wasn’t like I hadn’t heard sacred music before, but Pergolesi in this setting?  C’mon.  I quote Janeane Garofalo, I’m not made of metal.  I asked the wife what the piece of music was?  At that moment, the bakery down in the alley, cooked up the most wonderful pie crust kind of smell.  Half the plaster wall absorbed a pink shade.  I would soon have the kids where we’d go to fountains and throw in too many pennies.  Here was this blessed pause in time, where again I saw how a life could be lived.  (I say again, because there were so many example moments throughout my life as a nanny where I stood back and became two selves.  The nanny pushing the pram, then the person I would be looking at parents and people around her for clues.  How did one achieve the sublime? My future self seemed to keep asking this question to her surroundings.  When I returned to Germany, I think it was the following day that I packed up the 1 and a half year old at that time, which, we all know what that means, right?  Diaper bag: diapers, wipes, snacks, bib, change of clothes, toys. (It varies at different seasons.)  Also, lifting the pram down at least two flights of stinky, pissy stairs to the U-bahn, not a pretty sight.  I think I might have pushed him the twelve blocks to World of Music on KuDam. (Sadly, it’s not there anymore.)  Since then, I still have the CD and it’s not only a pretty piece of music.  Stabat Mater encapsulates the slight fried air mixed with hints of wisteria, the need to own all those fragments of beauty; the need to insert them in my future gaze.  There are these moments.  Call them your happy place, call them serene times or times of knowing.  Its like life is nudging you to look.  To just capture.  Whitman says, “I do not ask for any more delight, I swim in it, as in a sea.”

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