The joy of the resolved query . . .

A Russian ensemble sings a classic folk song, ‘Under a willow’

Without that little stimulating itch, that urge to identify what’s behind the unknown, and indeed, that resolved query, we’d be so much poorer. It’s an urge that must be hard-wired into our mental capacity, the need to know more about something.

Engrossed, I have sat through the video recording of this song on YouTube several times now. Each time the tears erupt through my eyelashes as the climax grows. But this emotional upheaval would never have happened if I hadn’t wondered, what is that choral music that emerges regularly through the new Channel 4 drama The Undeclared War?

So I embarked on a little search, as you do these days, so easily. The piece at classical-music.com, brought to us by the BBC Music Magazine, was salutary, and especially because it offered a link to the passionate singing of the Russian ensemble. I found the lyrics at another site. The music is stirring enough, but the sad tale of the folk song brings a special pathos to the performance.

Even though, in retirement, finances tighten and daily life becomes more challenging, what is undeniable is the blessing of time that older age conveys. Time to wonder, to look and to find. I suppose that pensioners are more renowned for our complaints than for delighting in the time we have to live, but it’s an incredible luxury to be satisfying that itch for knowledge and understanding. To be allowed the time to investigate, at leisure and on a whim.

I may soon forget the intriguing plot twists and wrinkles of the cyber-war series, but I suspect that the memory of this song will remain with me for a very long time. And I wouldn’t have realised this experience without that resolved query, for which I am very grateful indeed.


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