Ave de cristal

Posted on April 2, 2011


Unexpected delights are all the more memorable because of how that element of surprise surpasses our expectations.  Yesterday, Juan and I were privy to just such a surprise.  Deciding last minute to attend a concert in downtown San Salvador, we arrived at the  Teatro Nacional 15 minutes late.  Despite the lovely art nouveau decor, as we entered the auditorium I immediately had my doubts.  There were only a couple dozen people seated in the spacious theater.  Hmmm… maybe this was going to be a bit of a bust.

As soon as Grupo Xolotl paraded onto the stage, however, I realized we were in for a treat.  A winds-guitars-and-percussion outfit that has been doing gigs together for over 30 years, Xolotl treated the audience members with the intimacy of close friends…. which is exactly what they were.  With the exception of one other couple that had likely chanced upon the performance, everyone present was seemingly a long-time fan and friend of the group.  Not only did this make us feel privileged to have stumbled upon a special secret, but it also meant that the show consisted primarily of requests and favorites from the audience.

Apparently THIS audience had a penchant for the sentimental.  While a few songs bordered on treacle (to use my new vocab word), for the most part the sentimentality added beautiful layers of color to moving music, covering themes from coraje to soaring condors.  One song that really rubbed the heart strings was a Kjarkas tune called Ave de Cristal, with flautas echoing and strings whispering ancient longings.  The wandering harmonies coupled wistful remembrance with unwavering resolve.  Here, the chorus provides a haunting reminder of love’s fragility:

Y es el corazón
como un ave de cristal
es tan frágil de romper
tan difícil de entender.
Y es el corazón
como el destino tan cruel
tan difícil de torcer
y tan fácil de perder
es el amor…

Which is ultimately why I’m writing this blog.  People often speak of how love is strong, and conquers all, and with it anything is possible, right?  That’s one perspective – a very sprightly one.  But marriage has also taught me another perspective, one that is no less optimistic but a little more sensitive, more perspicacious.  It’s taught me that love itself needs cradling, like a delicate crystal bird that we ought handle with care if it is to last and not be lost.  Love is easy to damage or lose, hard to understand.

But at the same time, we have a reassurance: despite problems and pitfalls, an authentic love will always return.  If we put in the effort to maintain a committed relationship, love will always trace its footsteps along that path of hard work, sincerity, and partnership to find us and fulfill us again.

Developing the ability to handle our relationships with care will be a key focus of this forum.  Realizing that hurdles or hardships in relationships never mean that the world has ended or that the sun will stop shining.  Realizing that we can cultivate methods for sheltering love and for making it stronger.  Realizing that our fragile beautiful bird is capable of growing and soaring high and strong like a condor.  That it can surpass our expectations, surprise us, and fill us with delight.

Listen for yourself to this lovely tune:

Posted in: Relationships