Last night, Mary and I went to a very interesting venue---an art gallery in an old granite bank---to hear a jazz sextet visiting from The Manhattan School of Music. It was truly a transcendent evening of music. The compositions and performances were rich, textured, and just challenging enough to keep me on the edge of my seat and listening actively and attentively, but with enough melody to hang onto and stay grounded. The moments of atonality and dissonance were very much balanced with moments of resplendent melodic beauty.
The ultimate moment of the evening came about half-way through the performance. I moved my chair quite close to Mary's, and we sat quietly listening together, each in our own worlds, but certainly joined in the same sensual experience of listening to the music and watching the musicians, one of whom we have known since he was a little boy. At a certain point, we leaned our heads together, our index fingers meeting quite subtly as our hands rested on Mary's right leg. I turned my face into her hair and simply rested there. The familiarity of her physical proximity and warmth, coupled with our simultaneous but separate enthrallment with the music, was a moment of such beauty and subtle intimacy. Those few minutes were truly a golden moment for me out of our eighteen years together. It was a demonstration of the simple but powerful oneness that can be experienced by two people who have been together long enough to be so energetically united. There were no words, nothing to convey, apart from the pressure of two fingers touching, the closeness of one another's aura, and that feeling that someone you love is present with you, along for the ride, and taking in the exact same experience in her own unique way.
Transcendent is the right word to describe that experience. And gratitude is what is felt so deeply for having lived it.