Another day, another concert for me. Hugh’s Room, an iconic folk music venue in Toronto, has reopened after financial trouble. Saturday night was a gala fundraiser, featuring fourteen excellent musicians. Being in the small hall was like coming home.
There were gentle songs and raucous songs, and everything in between. I was happy. Then Laura Smith stepped up to the microphone. I’d say she’s in her sixties. And here’s what she has to say in “The Blues and I”:
Everything is moving
So why am I standing still
Looking for a star?
Let there be a star …
The words are lovely but Laura onstage is inexpressible. Her face has the hollows of an older person. The eyes reach out, warm and wet. The mouth holds the words gently. The voice soothes. But the whole is infinitely greater than the sum of the parts.
When Laura began, all of me stopped. Only one other time in my life has a person filled the room like this. She was a teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. And Laura was right there with her.
I said hi to Laura after the concert. She smiled.
Wow. There’s nothing to say. The written word doesn’t get the job done. You’d have to be there and listen.
Only twice in my life. Has a human being of such transcendence ever come your way? I think you’d remember if they had. In fact, I know you’d remember. Inside your head, you would have heard …
Oh my God!