Of Sorrow, Peace, and Power, Cast in Silvered Evening Hour (with Schumann, Bach, and Haydn)

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

When I encountered "Ich Grolle Nicht" last week, it saved me a great deal of writing trouble ... just how do you survive betrayal at the deepest level and move on? The title of the song is often translated in two ways that are both the answer: regarding the past, "I Bear No Grudge" and regarding the present, "I Do Not Complain." Strictly it is "I Growl Not" and would probably even fall out to "I Grumble Not" ... but who could think of the latter two possibilities, hearing Jose van Dam last week or Robert Sims this week?

My favorite baritone Robert Sims, whom I know personally, doing what he does so well on this beautiful short selection by Schumann!

In Wagner's King Marke, I at last met my literary analog ... a person of great responsibility of mature age, considered 'boring' to those involved in the daily flash-and-dash of the world, but with hidden depths and capabilities of passion, and a desire to love and forgive at the first opportunity ... but confronted with the reality that no matter the love, there is no way to override the permanent separation caused by other people's choices. In Tristan und Isolde, he walks through the whole process ... and my heart was moved to him because I know exactly what that feels like.

Now, how shall I meet the coming of spring in 2024? The events of the springs of 2022 and 2023 hurt me to the bottom of my soul ... it is March and the memory of spring on approach causes the memories to recur.

And yet, the last two years have changed me for the better. In the past week, two challenges to my finances and my ability to work came one day after another. I do not remember being upset beyond registering that there were said problems. I stayed calm and pleasant and blessed all those who helped me, and in 72 hours, all of those problems were resolved in my favor.

Yet I know some things will never come again from their winter rest ... I was again at Alvord Lake and wondered what it would be like if the trees there never woke again ...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews at Alvord Lake, March 4, 2024

... but there was still such peace ... and even though the sorrow still lies deeply within me, about the past I bear no grudge. About the present, I do not complain. Neither the holding of a grudge or the complaining about the present hold any power.

There is immense power in peace, often overlooked by a world in which some many are literally hell-bent on dominating their fellow man. All the whining and complaining and guilt-tripping of others, every act of deceit to give someone a false impression and thus limit their freedom of understanding and action -- all of that comes from the same impulse to control others instead of controlling one's self and from there acting on situations.

There is immense power in giving the impulses of petty slave owners up, both in the giving and the receiving of such treatment.

And yet, as I pondered Alvord Lake, it seemed so small now ... yet so peaceful and beautiful still, its true dimensions revealed, and yet not diminished, with the promise of spring already on its banks...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews at Alvord Lake, March 4, 2024

... yet its shallowness is subtly more apparent, though not in any way that diminishes its beauty...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews at Alvord Lake, March 4, 2024

Standing there in the silvery sunshine, I felt such intense peace and sorrow at the same time ... from the winters of 2021 and 2022, how full and flourishing things had seemed to be, and how things had come entirely apart, reducing the circle of my life to a small round by the end of 2023 that would seem winter-bleak to the eyes of the rushing world ... and yet, was still in such peace ... no distress, no grumbling, no sound of man or beast that might be thought to be in complaint ...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews at Alvord Lake, March 4, 2024

I had been thinking of Bach, and this transcription by Bauer brings the baroque and modern together in a stunning way ... "The Soul Rests in God's Hands" ... and my German has come back to me enough so that I could read it instantly. Of course, this contemplates the Christian consideration of what happens to those gone on to be with the Lord ... but I also remembered, upon listening to it, that Bach buried ten of his own children, and his first wife. He lived to be 65 years old, and there are only health challenges of his own that slowed him down in production toward the very end. Of course, with the big family he STILL had, Bach had to keep working ... but the clarity and beauty of his music, even in its saddest moments, still shines.

I thought upon hearing "Die Seele ruht in Gottes Händen" that Bach must have understood that among the souls that were resting in God's hands, it could not have been just those who have departed. It had to be those still here to live, to love, to serve as well ... it had to be his soul also, for there is no other way that he could have composed music as this ... such sorrow, such peace ... even with a more modern transcription, it stands out.

Such depth ... I thought of all this as I stood upon that shore, and contemplated the power there was in being able to hold such a balance ... but who is sufficient for these things, as the Scripture says? I did not know if I was deep enough to even hold that balance ...

"Du bist, Frau Mathews," came a familiar, awesomely deep and peaceful voice.

The Ghost of Musical Greatness Past, his burgundy hiking poles and black hiking outfit recalling his King Marke of the previous week, continued in English: "You are, Frau Mathews. You would not have been brought to this place in your life to drown in waters too shallow, or too deep."

Out with an ethereal handkerchief, and he handed it to me to dry my tears ... such an old Teutonic gentleman, as ever. He waited for me to compose myself -- danke schon, Herr Möll -- and then continued in his gentle way.

"I have considered what you said about my performance of King Marke in Tristan und Isolde, and even what you did not write about my singing of 'Über die Heide' last week -- but I notice you are giving some younger musicians a chance this week! I find it amazing that you even bother about me when you know Mr. Sims!"

I smiled sadly.

"He is busy and productive on a mission of his own -- he and I speak once or twice a year. His voice is ever in my musical ears, for I listened to him much in previous decades, but it is just now that YouTube's algorithm has returned him to me. He is a baritone, and a great one, but a baritone is not deep enough to comfort me. Only a basso profundo could do that, and you know why."

"Of course I do. How is your immortally beloved Grand Old Soldier?"

"I saw and spoke with him recently -- he is soldiering on. I thank you for saying to me, some months ago, 'Do not let the anticipation of future grief rob you of present joy.' He has not yet moved, and we have enjoyed much good fellowship."

"Very good, Frau Mathews. Enjoy every moment for what it is, for as you younger people say, life comes at you fast. In terms of Brahms: Love and life so soon pass away, to transliterate that last line into English."

"Yes, sir, and I'm going to need you to stop trying to kill me with that voice," I said, and he laughed. "Now my German has recovered quite a bit, and of course you know I am always looking lyrics up -- so I knew from other people's performances that it is a hard day's walk over the heath that once was blooming in the spring, so empty and dead and cold in the autumn even before the snow ... but what I didn't get until you sang it was that she died. 'Oh, that I never walked here in May -- both life and love, so soon passed away!' You have this huge voice like a whole choir of basses is in there singing unison, but then you can sit all but one down and let us hear him weeping through the notes -- it is utterly and completely devastating, and I'm sure that if I had heard 'Über die Heide' or King Marke's lament last year, I'm quite sure I would not have survived."

"Which, of course, is why you didn't hear those last year," he said. "Yet as I said when I came today, you are deep enough now ... healed enough to reflect upon your grief ... so then all that music and this truly deep Bach/Bauer masterpiece came along.

"There is power in the balance of sorrow and peace, Frau Mathews, epitomized in fiction in King Marke, and for real in the output of Father Bach. His output is staggering when you consider how many times depression from so many losses might have claimed and stopped him ... when you realize the depth of his sorrow in such pieces as 'Die Seele ruht in Gottes Händen.' Yet, because of his deep faith, and his determination to continue to follow his calling in music and to his family and community, he walked on, peacefully, powerfully. You are becoming very like him, Frau Mathews, because you are growing into what he also knew."

He sighed.

"Schumann's 'Ich grolle nicht' stands out in romantic literature for several reasons, not least its stunning beauty in its brevity -- it is like Alvord Lake. Yet did you notice how the character of 'Ich grolle nicht' finds a resolve? He is a rarity in Romantic song, although, granted, the song cycle is not over, in that he actually gets over the heath."

"Ah," I said. "*Ich sehe, Herr Möll -- * I see. He gives himself closure. He describes his heartbreak at his loss through the betrayal of his beloved, but then chooses not to bear a grudge. That frees him to move on, and by the end of the song cycle, he is done with the matter."

"Sorrow, plus peace -- power," he said, "a power few know on the Romantic side of literature. King Marke stands out as well, for precisely the same reason. Their fictional rarity points out something true in the life of Bach, who not only had the sense of his own calling but also a deep, intimate faith in the One Who called him.

"However, Schumann, out of his own terrible struggles, laid bare the secret of all: at some point, one has to give up begrudging what was, complaining about what is, and choose to let go and move on if one is to move on at all."

"I see," I said.

"What you have grasped in 'Ich grolle nicht,' Frau Mathews -- of surfacing it for yourself -- is very important," he said. "If you think your scope small now, like Alvord Lake, you are keeping the peace and purpose there quite well, by refusing grudges, resentment, and complaint."

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews at Alvord Lake, March 4, 2024

"The thing is, Herr Möll," I said, "what is the point of grudging and complaining with people? First of all, it says somewhere in Ephesians 6 that the real war is not even with people but with the forces of evil influencing them. 'Ich grolle nicht' when it speaks of the serpent gnawing at the heart is right about that too.

"But second of all, I understand the lesson of 2022 and 2023 and Bach also -- I can't make anybody do anything I want them to do, but in business I will ask for someone's supervisor in a hot second, and in all of life, I know Someone Who is the Superior of all, so I have gotten to the point that I just refer people up the line and stop arguing with mortals about things."

The full name of that glorious piece by Bach is "Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" -- "I call to You, Lord Jesus Christ"-- and again, in Bach we have a Christian who lost a wife and ten children. To whom was he going to go to lift his burdens and solve his family problems? To whom could he state his case, and have anything done that could reach that deep as he moved onward through being a widower single father, and then choosing to find a second wife who would love his children as he did, and then blending that family while all of them lived off his music?

"It just gets to the point that people can't and won't and won't even attempt to do what you need, no matter how you have loved them, no matter how far out of the way you have gone for them," I said. "At some point, one has to learn to go talk with One Who can and will and actually cares, and Who will direct one to the right connections among people."

The tears came suddenly ... grief poured itself out, at last, in utter exhaustion.

"I'm tired, Herr Möll. I'm tired."

He wrapped his long arms around me, for he knew that in my community, if an elder tells you that, they are about to go past singing "Death is the Cool Night" in German and just request angel pickup. Now I am 43 ... but I have always been an old soul ...

"I bear no grudge ... I do not complain ... but I also cannot go through what led me to 2022 and 2023 again. I still have to get through the future loss of my grand old soldier, my parents, and all the elders of their generation whom I love -- I can add no other burden! I bear no grudge. I do not complain. I will bear whatever cross my Lord should see fit to put upon me -- but attempting to move people where they are not equipped and do not want to make a serious effort to go -- that burden I cannot bear, for changing hearts is not for me to do.

"Lass mich in die Ruh -- let me have 'der kleiner Ring' of little affairs you sang of in 'Grenzen der Menschheit' as fit for a mere mortal -- let me have Alvord Lake in winter, and if that is all for the scope of my life, then around it I will go, and make of it all the beauty in peace that I can! For all other things, I will call to the One Whose garment hem I humbly kiss, and let it alone -- though it grieve me to the heart to see people missing so much good -- I will let it alone! I must call up higher and leave all such matters -- and my aching soul -- in the hands of Him Who can bear all of that. It is not for me to do!"

I broke down then, the pain roused within me that day at last surfacing as it needed to. He waited, and then at the appropriate time, he wrapped the full power of his softest, double-deep tone around me ... that stage timing, for by then, the sun came out, and it began to be warm at last ...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews at Alvord Lake, March 4, 2024

"It cost you greatly to get that lesson, Frau Mathews," he said, "but you have it in all its blessing. Nothing you have been through has been in vain. So now ... nur ruhe ... that is enough anguish ... nur ruhe ... I am taking you away from here, up to the top of Lone Mountain behind us ...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

"... for in the fitting environs of the University of San Francisco, there is more to this lesson that you must have, but rest now ... nur ruhe ... nur ruhe."

Now that must have been something to see, given my size and his size ... him walking up Stanyan Street, block after block, and then turning right somewhere and scaling Lone Mountain while carrying me -- presuming in his state of existence that it was necessary for him to do it that way. That, if done as a pure left turn at the rugged hill, was quite a climb:

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

I remember at one point smelling something like honey, and I wondered if he might have recalled "Kleiner Haushalt" and hitched us a ride on a helpful honey bee ... except that of course, he would not have disturbed her at her work, getting food for her household from the bee balm flowers:

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

I will never be able to tell you because of course, I was in the Knockout Zone ... as ever his voice snatched up all that pain and left me in peace until golden hour on Lone Mountain had begun, and, this was before me ...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

... a golden hour cast in silver, with the silver sea star-spangled with gold in the distance...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

Lone Mountain is chilly in the late afternoon, but there was no chance for that cold to penetrate the deep, black-velvet warmth of my companion's voice, still wrapped around me...

"Although your humility speaks well of you, Frau Mathews, there was a need to have both a higher and deeper consideration of the matters of the day ... you long ago outgrew the shallow lakes of life around you."

"This Pacific Ocean ... it has its great storms and its wrecks. Many hopes and dreams and lives have met their sunset in its waters. And yet it remains the deepest, widest, and most peaceful, and arguably the most beautiful of all of Earth's waters. Now, of course we know the Pacific is not able to choose ... but it retains all its power and beauty and majesty in remaining what it is, no matter what dramas mankind chooses to play out upon it and within it. It is too deep for people to impress it any more than a footprint in the sand might hold it for the moment before that footprint is dissolved. We cannot even ripple the Pacific -- it absorbs those energies into its own movement as if no hand or foot had ever touched it. A large enough vessel might leave a wake on an exceptionally calm day, but not for long."

He paused, and then added, "Only the hand of its Creator can move its great expanse, and in the meantime, all the life that He has ordained in and around it flourishes."

He smiled.

"I think there is some music about that kind of thing, something about the great whales and fishes and ... ."

"Haydn's 'Creation," I said. "There is this humble little bass who once sang 'Rollend in schäumenden Wellen' and the recitative preceding it under Leonard Bernstein's direction ... forgot he was a classical singer and just started rolling his head with the music ... was smiling at every moment his mouth did not have a note to sing ... eyes just shining ... ."

"He did tend to get carried away sometimes," he purred, his eyes again shining at the memory, "but you know, put a little bass on a big job like that, and anything is likely to happen."

"Gotta watch out for those little basses -- which is why thousands upon thousands still do, on YouTube," I said.

"Vielen Dank, Frau Mathews," he purred. "I did get my life together a little bit after the 1980s, but ... ."

"Uh huh," I said. "The Commendatore who got caught on camera in I think 1993, smiling like anyone's loving and delighted elder brother as Samuel Ramey sang so beautifully -- and almost smiled before that high E, knowing he had that ultra low D in his back pocket."

He broke out laughing.

"I said, 'a little bit' -- ein Bisschen! But I will go on and illustrate the previous point in just that way -- given what I had to overcome, born in Germany in 1938, listening to the biggest city near me being literally bombed out of existence before I was seven years old -- do you think when I was of an age that I could choose that I allowed anyone or anything to long disturb my gratitude and joy?"

"Not at all," I said.

He paused yet again, and then added, "Now to come back to 2024, it is quite a walk from Alvord Lake to the Pacific Ocean, or even upwards to even view the greater expanse of water ... but it can be done."

"Oh," I said. "The journey from the shallow, so easily disturbed, to the deep, with its energetic peace."

"You are on your way, Frau Mathews, as others walked the same path before you."

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

We just watched for a good while before he spoke again, but he had another thought.

"Do you remember the text of Löwe's 'Meeresleucthen' -- how the poet explained how the light gets into the sea anyhow?"

"Yes -- it is an accumulation of golden sunsets. The light sinks into the water and makes of the wild waves its grave until, on the holiest and stillest of nights, all that light revives and plays upon the sea again."

"This is what I wish you to observe, Frau Mathews, you who live when the scientific explanation is now known -- on what side does the science still hold?"

"The second part," I said. "It still takes a still night, and someone to be very observant to catch that play of light."

"The deep does not reveal that secret to those not in proximity to it, and not attentive to that holy stillness, does it?"

"Ah -- ich sehe, Herr Moll!"

"The oceans are perhaps the most accessible part of the planet, Frau Mathews. Yet no one knows them without proximity, and attention. They are too deep to yield their secrets casually, and will not give up any of their peace and power to those not prepared. Their wrecks are for no one to move about and toy with, but are their own, to fasten such life upon as the Creator wills, and no more. The sorrow of each ... the memory is there ... but the oceans are deep enough to hold them, and still be unchanged in their essence. And to those who stop in respect and pay attention, they yet offer such a day as this.

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

"Listen to me, Frau Mathews. Hör mir zu. It is a privilege to share such an afternoon and evening with you. Though in the imagination you trusted me to carry you safely here, you can literally dismiss me at any moment. That's on the power side, a power you will have over no mortal, so, you have to dismiss in advance. Not everyone is of the respect, the skill, and the attention necessary to participate in a life in proximity to you. Eventually, they will out themselves -- if you write over 2022 and 2023 that understanding, it will help you."

"I do understand -- ich verstehe," I said.

"Good, Frau Mathews. Now, also, this: you are a little contralto and author, just like I am a little bass."

"Herr Möll ... I dare not compare myself ... ."

"There is no need for comparison, like the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic Oceans do not compare. A thing is what it is, Frau Mathews, and so is a person. You have spent most of your life doing what I did when at home: humbly and happily ministering in your community. You have indeed made the most of der kleiner Ring -- of a small circle. Hive's small size compared with other social media does not trouble you. Nonetheless, Frau Mathews, in 2022 and 2023 you had for a time an audience of many thousands, and you left because it was not being conducted in righteousness -- but that does not change the fact that your gifts scale up easily."

He paused and then added: "Hör mir zu -- that fifth book of yours, Seizing the Crypto Bull Run for Financial Freedom ... you conceived it in late July and August, completed it in September, launched it in October, and was at best-seller status on Amazon by November 1. You studied marketing in January, applied it in February -- and if you execute on just the opportunities you received in February and to the first Monday in March, you will speak to how many and have your book in front of how many by the mid-spring?"

I did the math and it staggered me.

"Hör mir zu, meine kleine Töchterlein," he said gently. "If we were to take this Pacific Ocean and try to put it in little Alvord Lake, would there be peace for the Pacific, or Alvord Lake, or any of its surroundings?"

"No -- the Pacific would have to rush the four miles back to its proper place, and San Francisco would be destroyed -- probably Daly City, the Peninsula, all the way around the Bay Area ... no."

"Hör mir zu, meine Töchterlein. There is peace in small things. There is no peace and can be much unnecessary suffering and destruction in playing small. You have well written here that every act of deceit is an attempt to unrighteously control and diminish others. See to it, then, that you do not lie to yourself, Frau Mathews, about who you are called to be.

"If we follow the wisdom of Father Bach in 'Die Seele ruh in Gottes Händen,' it also follows that all those in His hands are His, and also one another's, forever, although the time and manner of our fellowship are limited in the earth. It also means that as much as that is true about those of your past and your present, it is true of those you are yet to meet. They are already yours, Frau Mathews. You will discover them in your decisions to walk as you are called."

He smiled.

"Have you not reconnected this week with three whom you loved, and found their love for you still alive and well -- and so you were all able to bless each other?

"I have, Herr Möll."

"Are not some of those you thought you lost in 2022 and 2023 now given back to you?"

"Yes, they are, Herr Möll."

"So, to follow the wisdom and faith of Father Bach on this, is there any way the One Who called you has a different future planned for you in terms of His gracious provision than the past and present?"

"None at all, Herr Möll."

"Then what have you to fear in expanding your scope in life?"

"Nothing at all, really."

By this time, an approaching storm front had cut off some of the fiery moments of sunset, but there were still some stunners ...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

... and blue hour, that half hour after sunset, had its own beauties as my companion accompanied me homeward...

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

"You have not been out this late for many years, Frau Mathews," he said. "But you are not afraid ... and it is not me who is the reason. You do know about the future what you know about this evening; you know Who called you, and Who is going to get you there, and Who will add to you such companions as you need."

"Yes, I do," I said.

"Now, I am not on your security detail -- but I look the part -- costume quick change!"

I broke out laughing because in that white he looked like the angel Raphael from Haydn's Creation doing bike reflector duty all of the sudden!

"But I love it!" I said.

"Well, your jacket is black and it is after sunset, Frau Mathews -- I'm not on your security detail officially, but still I cannot fall below the security standard!"

So off we went heading toward my home through the streets of San Francisco, and because he was taller he saw further down the street, and smiled.

"You had a question about what spring will hold for you, Frau Mathews. Now, I still do not know the future, and even if I did I would not be permitted to tell you, but I can look down the road, having put in three-quarters of a century and a bit more in the world where you still live."

We stopped by a pair of trees that he had his eye on the whole time ...

"Moses was told, 'Speak to the rock' -- and he disobeyed at his peril! At my stage of existence, I know better -- I am commanded, 'Sing to the magnolia and cherry trees!'"

"You aren't an angel, but you certainly sing like one," I said, and he winked as I laughed before he reprised the angel Raphael in Haydn's Creation with "Rollend in schäumenden Wellen," in which the dry land emerges from rolling waves into a perfect world of pure and holy peace. The singer himself is carried and carries us all away with joy at this arrival:

By the time he had finished, the two trees had forgotten winter and come out of bud -- they did what my heart had done --

Photo taken by Deeann D. Mathews on Lone Mountain, March 5, 2024

... because of joy, and hope, for they had found their spring, and I knew, as morning follows evening and light follows darkness, that I would too!


The magnolia tree forgot about the winter, I think will remember this every time I see a blooming flower or tree, bringing hope and the scent they spread - I love it... btw, for some reason I could not open your post from last week, it blocked down my browser every time I tried to open it.


Wow ... PeakD has been having a few interesting moments with images and such ... that post also was sticking as I was editing it... try it in Hive.blog or Ecency!



It is such a blessing that we have three front ends (at least)!


Beautiful pictures from around your town.


@deeanndmathews! You Are Alive so I just staked 0.1 $ALIVE to your account on behalf of @ myjob. (2/10)

The tip has been paid for by the We Are Alive Tribe through the earnings on @alive.chat, feel free to swing by our daily chat any time you want, plus you can win Hive Power (2x 50 HP) and Alive Power (2x 500 AP) delegations (4 weeks), and Ecency Points (4x 50 EP), in our chat every day.


Thank you ... I walk and think and pray, and pray and walk and think ... and then look up and God reminds me He's at work, so I get the photo!


What a beautiful way to capture the perfect picture.


He is always doing amazing things ... I appreciate His constant reminder (although some things my camera can work with better than others)!