A Moment of Beauty

I just finished watching The Shawshank Redemption for, I dunno, maybe the tenth time. Sure, it is one of my favorite movies, and I have seen it enough that it is familiar, and comfortable, and something I can have on in the background while I do other things.

This time a single scene caught my attention; one I have noticed before, but not really *noticed*, until tonight: the scene when Andy (Tim Robbins) locks himself in the library and plays Mozart over the loudspeakers. The looks on the faces of the prisoners. The look on Andy’s face. Red: “I don’t know what those two Italian ladies were singing about. I’d like to think it was something so beautiful that it couldn’t be expressed in words.”

I spent most of this past Sunday sleepwalking, in a haze from lack of food and sleep. As I was stumbling around a supermarket in the afternoon the intercom came on playing “Perhaps Love” — the John Denver/Placido Domingo duet. I have never paid much attention to that song, but at that moment, me half dead from exhaustion, and tiny bits of hallucinogen floating around in my brain, it was…extraordinary. I stood in the aisle with my eyes closed and just listened to those beautiful voices, singing that beautiful song, in a place where I had never before heard music.

Or perhaps I just never noticed it. I was back there shopping this evening and the intercom was silent. Only the sounds of groceries being bagged and lobsters tapping against the glass walls of their peculiar prison. Maybe the weekend manager was a music lover. Or maybe the weekend manager was not there at all. Regardless, that couple of minutes of song at that moment stuck with me, and in trying to tell my friends about it and seeing smile-and-nod reactions I realized that there are indeed some moments of beauty that can’t be expressed in words.

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