Monday, April 27, 2009

Soothe the Savage Beast

It is spring. But it felt more like midsummer, the haze in the air hanging over us like a gossamer curtain. Winter's chill that kept us captive in the arduous winter past is long a memory. The flowering season for shrubs and trees was pleasurably extended this year, blooms lazily hanging on to the boughs. The dullness of shades of brown metamorphed into a riot of rainbow colors.

I drove through the countryside today, our agrarian culture in full-bore activity. Fallow fields now furrowed deeply, in some, seedlings have already been planted. I was glad to be away from the concrete jungle of pavements and multi-storied buildings.

During the morning and early afternoon, I was in a farmhouse built in 1760 playing music of composers a century younger than the house. The scent of rising dough permeated the whole house. Smoke rose from the summer kitchen's chimney.

The piano stood next to a window and occasionally, the gentle breeze would rustle the leaves outside tracing a lacy shadow pattern on my music.

It's moments like this that make me think of an afternoon with the Faun, Mr. Tumnus, imagining a time of lost innocence. There were moments when the music was absolutely transcendent and I was lost in the wonder of creating such beauty with my own children. For so many years, the practicing of scales and etudes seemed like interminable chores. But with persistence, they've broken through the barrier and together, we create this sonic tapestry.

Under wooden beams older than our republic, we are conversing in this wordless language transforming black and white oval shapes into something that reaches down inside and says, "This is Beauty."

Even if we never reach the superb proficiency of a world-class ensemble, it is I and my children incarnating the notes, bringing to life the vision of a Mendelssohn, a Dvorak, and a Bruch. It is delightful.

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