2021 has not yet proven to be less crazy than its predecessor, has it? Perhaps because of this, I’ve taken a bath almost every evening this year: whether due to the news, the weather, or something else, I seem to crave the warm, quiet, massage-like cocoon of a hot bath particularly often. And given what I’ve heard from others these days, I suspect I’m not alone.
I've also found that I've stopped listening to so many podcasts during these early-2021 baths. Instead, I’ve found myself reaching for my favorite classical music more than ever: free of the context and specific memories that tend to attach themselves more intractably to music from recent years, I can more easily let go and relax.
I mentioned this to Pedro the other day as I happened to chat with him while brewing up a Sea Soak in my tub and, after laughing about me and my rituals, he asked, “What do you listen to?” In case you're curious, too, I quickly put together this playlist of the pieces I’ve enjoyed most in the past few days: songs that leave me with a sense of peace, hope, and inspiration for the future.
If classical music isn’t in your wheelhouse but you’re interested in listening to it, remember that much of its beauty can be found in letting go of expectations: you don’t need to listen for or appreciate anything in particular. Just feel whatever it makes you feel. That’s what makes a piece of music yours in the moment, no matter what type of music it is.
And for more of a guided experience, check out this gorgeous video that Google Arts & Culture recently put together to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday along with the accompanying adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s poem, “Ode to Joy,” that Tracy K. Smith so beautifully crafted.
More than most things I’ve seen lately, they remind me that sometimes the best antidote to the feeling that follows a lengthy period of darkness is a gentle nudge to make space for the light — the joy — to come in.