Life in the Cosmos

A brilliant essay by Jeremy Holmes on how reason allows our lives to be extended beyond our bodies.

Peregrine Magazine

By Dr. Jeremy Holmes

Some time ago, I visited a friend who owns a Steinway baby grand piano. He told me about the history of the Steinway brand and the unlikely success of its orphaned and impoverished founder, but I could hardly pay attention. My fingers moved slowly over the keys, and old muscle memories stirred aching in my arms and back. I remembered how I would lean into the instrument, finding intensity in an old familiar rag. Some said I had­ a gift for it.

Then we moved away to graduate school and there was no piano around, and everyone studied late and woke early, and years went by and I did not play and did not play. I remember when I came home for vacation, sat at my parents’ upright piano to play the old favorites, and discovered that they were gone. The muscles tensed but nothing moved…

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