Helen Berggruen

A visual artist who believes in the power of music, and of imagination, to transform our lives

I close my eyes and imagine myself in the middle of the countryside on a hot summer day. A farmer’s reservoir offers the perfect oasis for a swim. Clambering down the bank, I startle a blue heron, who spreads its great wings and soars noiselessly into the sky. As I glide past the reeds and out into deeper waters, dragonflies skitter just above the surface. Moving through the watery silence, I look up at at a nearby pasture where a solitary bee circulates among hibiscus flowers. The cows drowsily flick their tails and twitch their ears. My mind turns to a different silence, the particular kind of silence that occurs sometimes in music: in this case, the silence between the first and second “Guardami” sung by Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. The silence between those two repeated phrases is weighted with terrible anguish. “Look at me.…..Look at me.” But now, watching a row of frogs jump one by one from the banks into the water, I remember that Mozart’s opera ends, in spite of betrayal and demands for vengeance, with the most magnanimous kind of forgiveness. The sum of these daydreams brings me peace.

And so I ask you:
In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?

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