I knew the moment I got off that plane in London’s Heathrow Airport that that choir trip would be once in a lifetime. I had to see and feel everything I could, because even though I knew I would come back, I had no idea how long it would be until then. I remember there was moss growing on the outer cement of the Heathrow airport in London and the air being denser than Phoenix’s airport, almost like the air was wrapping it’s arms around my jet lagged body in welcome. It was exhilarating being so far away from home; there was an entire country before me that had no idea of my existence, nor I theirs’.
My choir toured England for the Somerset International Youth Choral Festival. We performed in Sherborne Abbey and Wells Cathedral- Well’s Cathedral being the grandest. The sound of five hundred kids in fortissimo on a song we all loved resounded in that space so wonderfully, I thought the walls would shake. Although singing with all those choirs was fantastic, and the cathedral were beautiful, sightseeing was the part of that trip I remember the most; particularly, the day devoted to the greatest bard in history.
The word “to frolic” is a verb meaning to caper about; act or behave playfully. An action Shakespeare would use in one of his romantic comedies. Shakespeare’s romances always used had fanciful language and intricate syntax that infused vivid colors into the meaning. On a day when the wind is perfect (written by Jalaludin Rumi, composed by David Wilcox sung by –among others- the Phoenix Girls Chorus) we visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, and Mary Arden’s garden. It was like I was being transported back to that time where language was more than a way of communication. It was an art form.
In Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, I remember taking off my shoes, so I could stand in the very spot Shakespeare stood when he was a young boy. I sat on the bench where he quite possibly had canoodled with lady friends. In the garden I twirled in an archway where the bard could have passed under in his youth. In Mary Arden’s garden there were rolling hills of thick green grass and barely fenced in masses of wild flowers. In a section where horses were taken to gallop, I frolicked. My legs were jelly noodles, my lungs were rasping, and my face was blushed with exhaustion, but I didn’t want to stop; because I knew that moment wouldn’t happen again for a very long time. I had to soak in every bit of England’s green before I left- it was a great paradox that her skies were usually gray, but her body was throbbing with color. It was on that day that I truly felt the phrase “Carpe Diem” burrow into my veins; I seized those hours with all my strength, and now have a perfect memory to relive whenever it’s snowy and gray outside.
A small note, when returning from England to the states with a layover, don’t book a flight with a grossly uneven distribution. Flying for nine hours from London to Denver is never a comfortable experience.
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