Rafael Anton Irisarri – Sirimiri

Late to the party, I finally had the profound realization of how beautifully quintessential water is to everything that we do. I wasn’t really blown away until I thought about it falling from the sky, as a mist, or a shower, or as Rafael Anton Irisarri puts it: Sirimiri (n. very light rain; stronger than mist but less than a shower).

I’ve been a pluviophile for as long as I’d like to remember. I love hearing rain drops, the crashing of thunder, the smell of the air, the short silence I hear as I drive underneath a bridge, and the vast, incomparable pleasure I get on the days I get to be outside in it, letting it soak through my clothes and hair, unbound from pressure and responsibility. There’s a childhood bewilderment to it all as amusement, excitement, and discovery all blur into one.

Sirimiri conceals these moments underneath a tenebrous veil of decomposition and disintegration as the album unveils itself, lest we forget the realities from which they descend. Deconstructed horns and static push their way through a field recording of insects and running water on “Downfall,” a beautifully delicate crescendo akin to drops of rain falling upon a window as waves begin to crash in from the ocean underneath a gentle gradient of sky and sea blended together.

More interesting than the idea of sirimiri is the title of the second track, “Sonder.” I first heard this word and read its definition a few years back:

Sonder. n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Today was a pretty busy day for me and this word popped up a few times in my head. I took too many phone calls at work, I watched a celebration for some of my employer’s most successful drivers (and their families), I got honked at and flipped off on my way to a dentist appointment (not my fault, of course), and talked with more people after getting a cavity filled than I needed to with half of my mouth completely numb. With the local anesthetics wearing off and the heat of my black leather interior beating against my skin, I took a minute to appreciate these interactions. There’s a lot going on in the world. We live complex lives in an infinitely more complex world. I want to wrap my mind around it and take it all in, but I have to start small. I spend a lot of time on myself. It’s easy to think you have have  that figured out until someone says “So tell me a little about yourself.” What good is any of this if I’m simply a drop of rain in an endless ocean, a minuscule brush stroke on an infinitely large canvas, or a tiny pixel on someone else’s screen? Not only that, but how significantly can I influence other’s lives without completely abandoning my own? Does it matter either way?

This reminded me of the eXtreme Deep Field image gathered from ten year’s worth of photographs by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Over the course of one decade, the Hubble Space Telescope spent a total of 50 days (2 million seconds of exposure time) gathering pictures of a tiny, hollow black spot in the sky. Once they gathered all the images and pieced them together, this is what they saw:

It’s amazing how much happens in life’s smallest, quaintest, most insignificant moments. I am thankful that I get to experience them.