dailybell2008: First week of August- PUBLIC

Monday, August 11, 2008

First week of August- PUBLIC

I decided to break up the postings into private and public observances. Most, but not all of the public events occured at sunset. And v.v.

8/2 PM Sunset in the Last Row
We were listening to the beginning of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem when the sun went down. At just the precise moment, the chimes in the orchestra started to play and we very quietly added some little bells from our seats in the last row. This performance presented by the San Francisco Choral Society was wonderful. They were joined by the California Chamber Symphony and The Piedmont Boys and Girls Choirs.
Other links:
Poet Wilfred Owen
Concert Review

8/3 PM Out In the Street
We spent the day in Oakland visiting with family from out of town. (See entry July 20, Third week in July). Eliott carried a small bag of bells around in the pocket of his cargo pants all day just in case we didn’t make it back to the house in time for the sunset. As it turned out we had plenty of time. We were getting ready to return across the Bay a few minutes before the sun was due to set. The bell in the back of my car had belonged to Norman’s father and had come from Lebanon, PA in the 19th century. Eliott is Norman’s nephew, and he was interested in seeing it before we drove off. There’s not much point in just looking at a bell so I untethered it, gave Eliott the hearing protection and invited him to ring it. Which he did- several times. Enough times to draw some attention from the neighbors. There were several children pressed up against the screen door looking at my car that was parked in front of their house. I asked them if they would like to ring the bell and they said yes. Their mother told them to wait a minute so that she could put pajamas on one of the children, and then they all came outside and took turns ringing the big bell. It was very exciting. As we finished ringing the bell several minutes before the sun actually set, I offered the children some of the tiny bells I had just acquired so that they could ring them again when the sun went down- officially.

8/4 PM Vorticella and the Sunset
Our improvisation ensemble, Vorticella rehearsed at Karen’s house this evening. She has a pretty little horse named Coby who she can watch from that big window where we sat to watch the sun go down. The window faces east, but the light changes color as it sends the darkness up the hills. For our last improvisation of the evening, we rang the bells for the 20 odd horses, goats, chickens and cats who were meandering around outside the window while the sun set.

8/5 AM Garbage Day

I ventured out front today just in time to keep company with the garbage collectors.

8/5 PM Sunset on the 63rd Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima
I put the signboard up in front of the Asian Art Museum and Norman and I chimed the bells for 10 minutes at sundown. Half of the people walking by read the signboard, which announced the 63rd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on one side and the sunset time on the other. I also discovered that “free” is a magic word. Contrary to what your parents might have told you, it’s much more powerful than “please” or “thank you”. It was easy and fun, and everyone was happy. As I extended a handful of tiny bells to each person that passed by, everything would momentarily stop. “It’s free. Please take one”. Nothing ambiguous. Easy. With each bell, I also offered a card with the dailybell2008 project description and blog address. There was even time to inform the person that I did this every sunrise and sunset and that he or she could now do the same. Only one person said no, thanks. It was a wonderful feeling.

8/6 PM MISSED!!!
I had the bells. I had the camera. I set the alarm. And I still missed the sunset. Amir, Norman and I went to see Hellboy II at our favorite Century 20 Theater in Daly City. It must have been those incredibly loud and vibrating special effects that masked the tiny vibration of the cell phone in my pocket. By the time I thought of the sunset, I had missed it by 40 minutes. So we just waited until we went outside to take a picture of the dark. Is this the first sunset I’ve missed?

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