Scratch and Sniff Opera


“11/9” is a day that so many of us thought would never come. Today we awoke to the shock that our next president could fundamentally alter all that we know and care about. His decisions will undoubtedly leave many millions of people behind. I remember kissing the ground when the Big O won the first time around. I believed with every fiber of my being that his victory represented moving into a wonderful new era of prosperity, equality, and endless possibilities. Cut to last night.

Right now, I’m looking outside and there is a sweet wind blowing, carrying the scent of orange blossoms with it. It’s tossing a smattering of leaves around the garden playfully and I recognize it immediately as an invitation to pause. So I do. I want to glean what the wind might have to say to me. Speaking a non-verbal language, the effect is much more potent than any words could offer in this moment. It feels soothing, this wind, maybe because it is making me think of untapped power. From gale force hurricane winds to the softest kiss of breeze when you least expect it, wind is but one expression of Mother Nature. With this wind, she is reminding us all of movement. It may not always be positive, but it’s movement nonetheless, and it’s what is taking us from one moment to the next. We are never truly stuck in one moment, although it can sometimes feel that way.

Strangely enough, my SALVE today is the farcical opera by Prokofiev entitled The Love for Three Oranges. The first audience for this opera failed to realize that it was a farce, despite the fact that Act One begins with a king lamenting that the prince’s sickness has been brought on by an over-indulgence in tragic poetry. The opera was greatly misunderstood at first and is now widely performed and loved. The New York City Opera and others have used scratch and sniff cards that are handed out to the audience, to bring to life the aroma of oranges and other (less pleasant smells) to aid in the telling of this tale. It’s hard not to laugh at the sight of patrons of the opera in all their finery holding scratch and sniff cards up to their noses. High art meets low.

Let me tell you what happened right there.

I was writing about wind because it is right outside my front door. At the same time, my music shifted to an opera I had never heard of before — not that I am much of an opera person. But when I went to look at the name of the piece that was streaming, I saw The Love of Three Oranges. So I ask you this: who needs scratch and sniff opera when we have the world around us putting on such a spectacular show?! This is my SALVE today. Anything else can happen, but this moment cannot be erased from my heart. And the feelings it leaves me with? Wonder and awe.

What’s your SALVE?