Saturday, July 21, 2018

"Garota de Ipanema"

The English version of the Brazilian Bossa nova ("new wave") jazz song "The Girl from Ipanema" originated in 1963.  The song was inspired by Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now known as Helô Pinheiro), a seventeen year old girl living on Montenegro Street in Ipanema.  Daily she would stroll past the Veloso bar café ("each day when she walks to the sea"). She has been described as "the paradigm of the young Carioca (a native of Rio de Janeiro): a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, the sight of whom is also sad in that she carries with her on her route to the sea the feeling of youth that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone - it is a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow".  It was this haunting, wistful mood which captured me today as I sailed about the countryside in my car on a balmy July afternoon.

Initially my objective was no other than the routine custom of getting the car washed.  However as I became increasingly absorbed in the delicious atmosphere - whispered by the open air and warm sunshine radiating through the landau roof of the car - my aimless ambition and imagination compelled me to drive further along the verdant country highways. The tranquillity of the sky, the richness of the emerald corn stalks,  the sheer delight of a clean windshield and the languid effect of wind-tossed hair.  My traceless thoughts blended with the summer heat.

I felt as though I were relaxing by the glistening sea. The opportunity provoked me to assemble my mundane treasures.  As tangible as I am, there is nonetheless a thread of simplicity and purity which colours my scope. The weight of age and decline only stiffen my resolve. There is no strength in the past; the future is but a guess. Tacking the immediate present is the only way to change one's attitude, sometimes with a swerve and a zigzag.

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