The hall is empty.
The music changes everything.
* * * * * * *
We lived in the Hollow, the hollow of the mountain, and a great blue wall rose around us. The windows of my sixth-grade classroom framed the landscape. It was an ever-changing masterpiece. Fall, winter, spring--the mood changed as if Bierstadt were sitting just outside with his palette and easel.
We each had a box of pastels and I drew a clipper ship...it was voted second best in the class. Betty Ann had drawn a mermaid perched on a rock...odd selections for mountain children.
My great, great, great, I lose track of the greats, grandfather was a bowlegged sailor who fought his way through the Indians to make a home far from the coast. He would have dozens upon dozens of descendants who never saw the ocean but had images of clipper ships coming closer and closer in their minds' horizons.
The waves rose and fell, mountains and hollows, mist sprayed from the splashing of creeks on rocks, and the fog, the fog billowed and rolled from the foot of the mountain all the way to the sea. On those days, mountain people recalled the oceans they had known, though not consciously, of course, just in their hearts, their bones. They stood on the pinnacles and watched the ravens and hawks sail and dive with no place to light in the vastness, so that they were forced to return to the arks of cabins and barns.The mountain folk stood and they remembered.
They swore they could hear the waves crashing at the foot of Fisher's Peak.