What We Lost

I like to think of myself as embracing digital technology. At parent teacher conferences last night I faced a parent who claimed how confusing it was for her child to navigate the electronic expectations of class – sometimes requiring a response to a Tweet, or logging in to Edmodo, the educational site where students can see and turn in homework assignments, grab quick links, or review or post files. In a paperless classroom, technology is an invaluable friend. But my response last night belied my true colors; I silently and, occasionally volubly, curse this cloud of blessing.

   Take iTunes: we had uploaded our entire music library to the Cloud last spring as we installed a new Mac desktop and consigned the old PC to its rightful place in the recycle mill. This week, however, yearning to hear a little Mozart played by its best practitioner of his piano repertoire, Alicia de Larrocha, I threw up my hands when I couldn’t retrieve a collection of his piano sonatas I had downloaded as a purchase this summer. Unwilling to accept its loss, I sighed, groaned, and wished for the halcyon days when my mom would return from a trip to Zody’s with the latest Partidge Family vinyl album: it would rest in the record bin we had at home, cared for with a special anti-static red cloth, and as long as I kept it out of the sun, it would play whenever I chose to toss it onto the turntable. This whole Cloud business is for the birds, I deemed. Image

   Then, this morning as I was reading Kierkegaard’s Either/Or in anticipation of St. John tutor Richard McCombs’s newly released ____ , which will arrive by post any day, I read this sentence:  “With his Don Giovanni, Mozart enters the rank of those immortals, of those visibly transfigured ones, whom no cloud takes away from the eyes of men…” I was seized by a sudden impulse to locate my Alicia recordings, and went to the computer. Image

   Behold! Her name was at the top of the iTunes page already open when I struck the spacebar to reawaken the Mac. Clicking on it, and selecting the first track, I was able to hear the first notes of the allegro movement of Piano Sonata K.283, and the clouds were rolled away.   

   What I had lost is suddenly found; I am not ashamed of the Cloud, but feel sheepish or having doubted. I had pretty much said “Unless I place my hands in the groove of his andante, I will not believe.” What a fool this mortal be. 

   What I thought we had lost, besides a few tracks of Mozart, was a peace of mind that came with de-cluttering the house last year, pitching the concrete (CDs, bound books) in favor of cloud storage. Fortunately, we now have a collection of the most sublime music, interpreted by an inspired musician; we have peace. And by the way, we also have a new cover and title for Sara Zarr’s novel – What We Lost (formerly Once Was Lost). When you think something is gone, you really appreciate it fully when it reappears after an absence.   

(Photo credits: What We Lost copyright Little, Brown; McCombs copyright Indiana University Press)


1 Response to “What We Lost”

  1. 1 Sara Z.
    March 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Oh you think we are done decluttering? Cute. (I love this post and am glad the Mozart turned up!)

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