Friday, June 10, 2005

An Unexpected Delight

Today, as I drove to work, I was reminded of one of those rare, unexpected delights we sometimes encounter in our lives.

A number of years ago, my companion and I were walking on a London street, having spent the afternoon in one its world-famous museums. As we talked, we approached an Anglican Church, and I thought I heard something of interest. "Shh. Listen to that," I said. Somewhere over the ivy walls of the courtyard of the church, somebody was singing something from an opera. We focused our ears. It was clearly a live performance or rehearsal of some kind.

We walked around the courtyard walls, and pushed open a wrought iron gate, its creak the announcement of our arrival. Under a shaded tree, a young lady was practicing something from Puccini's Turandot, one of the broken-hearted arias. Two others were sitting in the courtyard, listening and enjoying, with thankful looks on their faces, undoubtedly similar to ours. As the young lady again caught her stride, she nodded to us with a "go ahead, sit down, you are welcome" type of look. The acoustics of the setting were extrordinary, the sky was clear, the ivy was green, and we sat and listened and enjoyed the performance for probably half an hour.

That is how my brand new wife and I spent a delightful time in London, on the second day of our honeymoon, listening to an unexpected wedding gift.