16 hours and 18 minutes of daylight. Solstice. The longest day of the year. The sun has risen at 05:28 and sets – right now, at 21:46. Nautical twilight will start at 22:30, astronomical twilight at 23:34. There will be no official night as astronomical twilight will last until 03:40 when the next day is well underway. For ten thousands of years, solstice has occupied Man’s mind for reasons linked to practical life, worshipping and science. A moment of magic. I invite you to contemplate the nocturnal sky if the sky is clear and to ponder the fact that during Stone Age already men, women and children contemplated this very sky, searched for the brightest stars and wondered whether it all had a deeper meaning. Man meets infinity when he looks up at the sky at night and realizes how small he actually is.
The moment you are reading this post, I am in Paris. The moment I am writing this post, I am in Luxembourg. I had been looking forward to the trip. I love Paris, and even if I go there for professional reasons, it will feel good to see new faces, to hear a different language, to immerse myself into another mentality. am looking forward to ride the metro in the early morning, watching people, what they do, what they wear, what they read. I like people. People make me curious. If I could I would make myself invisible just to observe them and see what makes them tick.
You will perhaps recall a post about Camille de Saint-Saëns’ Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viol and Cello in E Major and the tender melancholy that befalls me whenever I am leaving Paris by train. Crossing the Gare de l’Est, having one last coffee at the brasserie, buying one last book at the bookstore, hurrying to the platform, announced at the last possible moment – no matter how long I have stayed in Paris, it always feels like I leave too early.
If you are old enough, you may remember Laurel and Hardy, two slapstick comedians from the 1920s, whose short movies I saw in the 1970s on TV, all black and white, no spoken words, occasionally subtitled – just as funny and just as sad as Charlie Chaplin. I loved Laurel and Hardy when I was a child, and when I recently listened to the opening bars of Alexis de Castillon’s Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat major (Op. 4) I had to think of the piano music that accompanied the short movies. It made me feel nostalgic for the simplicity of the jokes, the straightforwardness of the arrangement and the unobtrusive piano music that conferred a sense of tragedy, of comedy or simply heightened the tension.