Amid every other emotion I find myself Enchanted.
I’m sitting at my office desk, Zoom meetings done for the day, surfing the internet in that mellow haze that a computer screen can inspire in the late afternoon. I am a modern-day rendition of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Lost Chord protagonist, “fingers wandering idly over the noisy keys.”
Sometimes Google features an interactive Doodle, those artistic imaginings of the title heading on the search page. I seldom notice these, but on this day, for want of any brighter thoughts, I am beguiled by a Halloween themed Doodle that they had reposted for idle shut-in hands. As a result, I end up playing several rounds of a nerve-racking ghost fighting game.
Time wasting is a progressive disorder. In due course I have scored a half century playing Google Doodle Cricket – actual crickets batting against snails (not good at running down the ball but with decent spin on the bowl). I am then humbled by a garden gnome throwing game, yet despite my humiliation I am thirsty for me.
The next link in line, enigmatically titled “Rockmore” introduces me to Clara Rockmore and her theremin. After some tutelage from her oddly ghost-like image, I am able to play along with her on a haunting version of Faure’s “The Swan” and then compose my own tunes on the instrumented. The computer simulation of a device which in imitates music has a meta magnificence.
The final stage of my enchantment occurs with an interactive representation of Oskar Fischinger’s animations (https://www.google.com/logos/doodles/2017/fischinger/fischinger17.9.html?hl=en). The German American filmmaker is most famous for his vibrant animation of abstract music. As such, the doodle has me place dots on a grid. As a wave of sound passes over, each dot produces a distinctive note and timbre according to the voice I had used to place it. There are four different voices each associated with its own shape and color. The effects are cumulative, so the final melody has the rich tones of a gamelan with each burst of noise accompanied by a unique and hypnotic shape.
I both distrust and require Google. It is a useful albeit nosy search engine, although I would feel better if it were not insinuating itself into all aspects of my life. I am equally equivocal about the computer on my desktop. It is both a vital tool and a wellspring of mindless distraction. But to be able to provide the tools for such soul soothing arts is surely the work of mechanical angels.
An hour later, I step away from the screen in a faint daze. Like any musical experience there was nothing to hold onto or cherish but the dim fading memory of a pleasant dream. This is the surest sign of enchantment. That and the desire to return (tomorrow perhaps) and search again for that lost chord.