Lamentate (North III)

 And I was moved to ask myself just what I could still manage to accomplish in the time left to me.

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Thus Arvo Pärt about his composition Lamentate, a piano concerto of sorts, inspired by Marsyas, the enormous sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

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Pärt’s Lamentate is, as the name suggest, not merely a lament but a call to arms, in order create a counterweight to the state of the world. Marsyas does this in its own way, too, in the form of a musical instrument filling all of space.

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The short canyon in Shades State park that leads from Devil’s Punch Bowl to Silver Cascades Falls is such an oversized instrument in its own right, to be played by walking it.

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The beginning is total silence.

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But, even during the worst drought, there is a trickle of water, feeding the fall with bits of sound and hope.

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Four years ago I attempted a prayer.


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My favorite State Park in Indiana is Shades State Park. The ominous name is short for Shades of Death, and possibly refers to a battle between Native American tribes. I have already written before about the Silver Cascades Waterfall in that park, but it has many other spectacular features. One is called Devil’s Punch Bowl, where in the early 20th century visitors that arrived from Chicago by train were treated to a movie night. These people had guts.


In dark winter, the punch bowl is certainly the place that justifies the park’s old name most. For some strange reason, the bare dead trees remind me of Francis Bacon’s crucifixion paintings.


The punchbowl is the end of a short canyon that has more fallen trees.


When the canyon widens, surprisingly the walls just get taller. One begins to wonder about the finale of this dramatic development.


Instead of a drop into the endless void, the canyon ends at the Silver Cascades Fall. That’s a counterpoint the composer of this landscape must surely be proud of.