Poems and Reflections on the Spiritual Journey by Dorothy Walters
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Inner Tubes and Handel
PHOTOS: (from the top)
1. How would you like to go for a walk?
2. Chief Niwot of the Southern Arapahoe Tribe--Boulder Creek was his winter campsite. He was a man of peace, but the Gold Miners of the nineteenth century drove him out. His likeness stands a! the entrance to the Creek Trail.
4. Girls having fun on the creek.
5. Boy holding his pink inner tube above his head.
6. Repeated by mistake.
7. Kids and father with pink inner tubes
8. How King George's Court might have looked (including those on the Royal Barge)
It was a perfect day. The heavy heat had finally lifted and a breeze was stirring, so I headed for the park and a walk down Boulder Creek. The creek was still flowing high from the spring runoff from the mountains above, a great day for the young to go inner tubing on the swift flowing water (fairly shallow and thus safe in case you got spilled out.)
I watched the tubers for some time--fathers gathered on shore to make sure the little ones were safe, teenagers shouting in excitement as they whirled and turned wildly--in all, it seemed like a reminder of earlier days when the world was not so filled with things to worry about.
Then as I walked on along the path, I turned my ipod to Handel's "Water Music," a favorite of mine. This composition is known as the "Water Music" because the King (George I) had it played as he and his royal entourage floated down the Thames on the Royal Barge on July 17, 1717. The orchestra was on a nearby boat, and the whole group was accompanied by many other barges carrying the elite lords and ladies of the age.
For some reason, this piece often brings tears to my eyes. I do not think it is the music per se, but rather what it evokes in my imagination. The Royal procession floating down the river would have been a spectacular occasion, not only for the King and his associates, but for the humble folk as well. To see the King--to witness and to hear this great presentation from the river shore--might well have been the event of a lifetime for many. I feel sure they came from farms and villages many miles around, whole families riding in flat wagons pulled by the farm animals. Some likely walked twenty or more miles to be there. Mothers would have prepared lunches and breakfasts (likely plain bread and cheese with a bit of meat added with ale to wash it down) and everyone would have gotten up very, very early to stake out a good viewing spot along the way. During the long wait for the beginning of the Great Event, families would have mingled to gossip and exchange the news of the day. Mothers would have called out constantly to the frolicking kids, "Timothy, don't get too close to the river, you'll fall in and drown."
And when Royal entourage came into sight, a great shout would have gone up. As it passed, folks would have bowed their heads (after all, this was their monarch) and many would have knelt in homage. It was a sacred moment, one to be remembered for a lifetime, almost as momentous as a family wedding or the birth of a child. Grandmothers would tell the story of this day to their own grandchildren, who would ask to hear the tale again and again.
Now, I do not know where the above description comes from. I do not think it is a past life recall (but who knows--maybe I was one of the simple folk gathered to witness this glorious occasion). More likely it is a series of associations, a creation of the imagination, but for whatever reason, this event brings up poignant feelings for me of "how it must have been."
Here is how one eye witness described the premiere of Handel's "Royal Fireworks Suite," a similar occasion held in London:
"for a week before, the town was like a country fair, the streets filled from morning to night, scaffolds building wherever you could or could not see, and coaches arriving from every corner of the kingdom." (And we might add, wagons and horses and foot traffic as well.)
Here is a youtube video of how the Royal Barge might have looked as it proceeded down the Thames.
This site is dedicated to Patricia Lay-Dorsey, beloved friend, mentor, artist, and activist, who has given her life to making this world a better place. Click here to see Patricia's photographs. It was Patricia's photos that illustrated my blog from its beginnings through December 2006. From January 2007 through the present, the photos are my own unless otherwise noted.