The last scene of Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, kills me every time. In it, a young woman has died and has asked to go back to her life for one day. She finds the beauty and the pain of it more than she can bear, so before breakfast even starts, she asks to go back. As she leaves, she really notices the details that she had never paid attention to when she was living. Here is Penelope Ann Miller’s monologue from her 1987 Tony nominated performance in which she says good bye to the world and all its sweetness…and there is also a wonderful 2003 production with Paul Newman as the Stage Manager.
I think of this scene all the time. I think of it when I touch my husband’s hair, eat blueberries, smell lilacs, hug my kids. It’s the small things, the everyday things, the lemons in a bowl, a rainbow of Sharpies in a jar, a cat on the table, sunflowers in my yard that I do my best to take in, appreciate, absorb. Can I possibly savor this enough, notice this enough, love this enough? I want to be here for my living.
As she goes back to her grave on the hill, Emily says, “Oh Earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.” She asks if anyone living actually sees it and the Stage Manager says no — the only ones who do, even a little, are poets and saints. I’m neither of these, that’s for damn sure, but I do want to be one who realizes life’s wonderfulness.
That’s what today’s class is all about. Below is the playlist.
enJOY the day.
Awareness of Poets and Saints – Saturday, August 3, 2013, 945am
Big Sky – 4:04 – Annie Lennox
Down To Earth – 5:59 – Peter Gabriel
Qalanderi – 6:55 – Cheb I Sabbah
The Sound of Sunshine – 3:44 – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Freedom – 2:50 – Tyrone Wells
I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) – 3:52 – Michael Franti
Sorrento Moon – 4:56 – Tina Arena
Fever (Adam Freeland Extended Remix) – 7:03 – Sarah Vaughan
Just Say Yes – 4:41 – Snow Patrol
Feel It All – Band Jam – 3:50 – KT Tunstall
Gandhi/Buddha – 3:28 – Cheryl Wheeler
Lux Aurumque – 4:16 – Eric Whitacre Singers