Gathering stardust and butterflies

by Barbara Maria Rathbone

Nice, a good while ago, on an orchestra/choir tour, abandoned in an abrupt and vicious manner by my boyfriend, a violinist friend comforting me, though he was a little tipsy (as was I, as well as incredibly tearful) said some unforgettable words which have marked me since.  I paraphrase slightly: “Barbara – when you give out so much love, one day, if not now, it will come back to you.” AB’s philosophy has come to my mind in the intervening years many times. It is the idea of ‘love karma’. But the memory also elicits the fact that we musicians are strange lot – wayward and romantic all of us, whether we think we are or not (I am a Leo so this is certain! ). Because there is not one note that moves the soul that was not written with a heart of fire, the music we issue drawing out all our desire and passion, stirring us sometimes into very unexpected journeys.

In the years since Nice (a particularly raucous ECYO tour with the Britten War Requiem), my life has spun and turned in this fashion all sorts of ways – the ‘love karma’ floating in, and sadly out. No stronger an example could I give than the past year. I don’t want to bore you with it, but it is almost exactly a year on since my life took on shades of explosive drama and intense emotional pain. I am bound to consider where I was then, and where I am now. In my earlier post in May I spoke of my rebirth into hope –  my ‘love karma’ rewarding me with joy and perspective again. I also knew that my innate creativity, ostensibly musical – the sense of profound inner joy I receive from music was pulling me out of the listless loneliness I felt. I know that love and music are completely intertwined for me. Both are powerful forces of destiny, both give immutable pleasure and a reassurance that colours all of life.

Since I wrote that post, I have realised that not all is perfect but that I am still receiving my ‘love karma’ – what I have given and what I give now to the things and people that move me is refining my destiny. And my voice, well, my voice feels like it has arrived in a very good place indeed. I am brimming full of ideas and energy and I have hope that, though all is not as I would wish, I am going to find a happy place to be and share that with some special people and a special someone. I know I am. To celebrate this, and another birthday, I am getting a small, pretty tattoo – of a butterfly. The butterfly represents reinvention, reincarnation, the metamorphosis of dark to light. No other symbol so defines my journey to this place. Like the aria I quote in my earlier post  perhaps I should live by the mantra – Io sono l’amore! For as brim full of music I am, love is never far away. It always returns. My butterfly celebrates this hope. Let’s hope it doesn’t hurt too much – what a metaphor for love is that!