Today was grey and cloudy, and I felt like I was suffocating while sitting in my apartment doing important apartment-type things. It seemed like a good time to go to the gym, but that was indoors as well. So I went running instead, in the rain. It had been quite awhile since I ran outside (although I've logged many miles on the elliptical machine, safe from the elements).
The bare trees against the sky above Riverside Park looked like black lace; it wasn't too cold at all. I chose Beethoven to blast through my earphones, the Appassionata, and when I reached Grant's Tomb suddenly understood that this music was about struggling with a decision—calm, at first, then frenzied, a tug of war that threatens to be melodramatic but is actually restrained and even mathematically precise, especially under Daniel Barenboim's fingers. It's obsessive music, but not so self-involved that joy and passion don't break through like the sudden breath you draw upon seeing the sun emerge from behind a big cloud. The sun didn't come out at all during my run, but the silver light of rain was just as bright as it bounced off puddles on Riverside Drive. I don't think a decision is reached at the end of the sonata, but rather acceptance of an unresolved world where beauty and turbulence vie for space, and finally agree to coexist.