Full Care (in) visibility

COMPOSER: Kristin Norderval

When I got the news of Pauline’s death, I was sitting in a café in Oslo. It was early evening, November 25th. I took a deep breath, sent condolences to IONE and to Landon, Eric and Ellen, and then closed up my computer and left the café. The following is an account of what happened, all of which was like being in a waking dream, bridging the Visible and the Invisible. I am at a café across the street from a small park with a Gazebo. I walk slowly through the park to the gazebo in a heightened state, listening carefully to everything, like a walking meditation. I enter the gazebo, and stand there listening to people coming and going, footsteps across gravel and frozen ground, cars and buses driving past, conversations drifting in and out. I start to hum quietly, but then feel this isn’t the right place, it’s not the right resonance. I walk slowly on my route home. Everything is beautiful and calm, the sounds of voices poignant, a man and a woman greeting each other at the entrance of a bar, muted sounds from behind the windows of the cafés I am passing, the sound of my footsteps, occasional traffic, and my thoughts. I walk to an underpass beneath a main thoroughfare. And I stop. This walkthrough tunnel, this passage, neither underground nor above ground, this liminal space has resonance. I walk through and stop at the far end of the tunnel, turn around to face the lights of the apartment buildings on the other side. I stand and listen. I start to sing very quietly. I am singing for Pauline, to Pauline, resonating the space, listening intently for everything around me, listening for Pauline. As I sing I notice that the passersby and the cyclists are keeping to the path on either side of the tunnel. No one is coming through. The sounds of footsteps and conversations are in the distance, the whoosh of delivery bicycles zooming by on either side add rhythmic punctuation, but amazingly I have the space alone in the tunnel. No one comes through for quite a long time, and I continue singing, calling out to Pauline fuller now. Mournful, peaceful, grateful, calm, grounded, sorrowful, aware of love. Finally a group of friends enters the tunnel. They walk through and past me, but they don’t seem to see me. And then another group comes from the other direction. The same they walk by without noticing. This is unusual. And suddenly I’m aware of what it must be like to be vibrating a space without being seen. It feels astounding. I continue singing exploring this feeling of invisibility. A young mother dressed in a winter coat and a hijab enters from behind me with her young daughter perhaps 3 years old. They too walk by without acknowledgement, but halfway through, the young girl turns around, and looks at me. Her face is open and wondrous. “Ah,” I think, “she is able to see; the young ones can see beyond.” Her mother says something to her to get her to come along. As they walk out of the tunnel hand in hand the young daughter keeps looking back. I am still singing. I smile at her. As they approach the exit, an older couple is entering walking towards me. When the young girl and her mother are out of sight I stop singing, and stand listening. As the older couple passes me, the woman whispers to me “Du må bare synge.” Just keep singing, don’t let us stop you.

Full care