I drove to Dorchester the other weekend to go to a village organized garage sale extravaganza. Maud and I found a few things but one of the most wonderful things was the music I found.
I was looking through a box of things and found some hand labeled CD’s and cassette tapes. What drew me to the tapes was the hand writing, which looked like my Dad’s.
I picked out a few CD’s and tapes, Beethoven and Vivaldi. Now I know I love to hear the piano in almost any kind of music, but I have also grown very fond of strings that vibrate into your heart. When I play the Vivaldi 6 Concertos I am transfixed. I keep turning it up, and tuning out what is around me. I want to lie down and just listen. It is beautiful story telling music, with echoes and refrains and the soul crying out to celebrate life. The 6 Concertos pulse and surge, my heart fills, my mind is completely drawn into the conversation of instruments. My Dad and I listen together.
Maybe I appreciate the violin now more since I have tried to learn how to play it. I was just getting somewhere with my lessons when I cut the tendon in my finger in a bizarre and unexpected accident with homemade granola. The lesson to learn from that is that you may in fact have a limited time to learn something new so don’t put it off for 40 years like I did.
But I am really good at going with the flow. So I have moved on. Now I listen to the violin and in my head I am playing it. Sometimes I do desire that my children will try everything with no hesitation, and try to be good at it too. There can be no harm in achievement of any kind in any art or discipline.
But music means a lot to me, and dance. And I never really recognized how much it did. Even now I let music enter my life randomly, and I don’t indulge it as much as I could with concerts or a good sound system. My car is littered with CD’s though because as a rural Mom I spend a lot of time in the car: pop, classical, salsa, Arabic music. CD’s like autumn leaves, unsheathed and chaotic. I am the one who sweeps my hands this way or that and makes things happen in my chaotic life.
I chose tap dancing when I was a young shy girl and my Mom told me I could take any class I wanted from our local community center. That must have surprised my Mom. And my brother chose cooking and has been a chef all his life! Then later I played in the all boy brass band in high school because I had been given the trombone in Grade 9 when I had requested the flute. In my thirties I found belly dancing and loved it. Recently I have been taking West African Drumming with Kadijah and really enjoying it.
I don’t know if I am a self- authenticated person. I am not even sure I know what that means but I suspect it means you know who you are and you act on it.
Lots of us struggle with knowing and acting. It does seem to take me a long time to take myself seriously. I don’t pursue achievements, I don’t believe in myself too strongly. What I do know about myself is that I enjoy my own company and I can flow with the stream of life, watching and thinking.
It is probably a fairly good achievement to be a content person so maybe I am self -authenticated after all. I have always had modest dreams and within my own expectations I have done well. I really wanted children, and from a very young age I knew that. As I matured I knew that I wanted to be the kind of mother who gives her whole being to her children and allows them to outshine her. And I am doing that as planned.
My writing was not so much of a career choice but a part of me, I have always had journal of insights, observations and occasional poetry. I have made money from my writing, which is good I suppose, but I don’t suspect it is ever going to be a big money maker for me.
This blog allows me to open up and add my voice to the chorus of voices. I can hear my voice, and that is nice. Others can hear me, and that is pretty good for a recovered shy person. I dance at my local hall with my friends because we like to dance but I find I am too shy to perform with any real enthusiasm. I just like to dance for my own pleasure.
If I did have a ‘bucket wish’, it would be to play an instrument again, and especially to play or sing with others, in choir or in a band.
It is so satisfying to play with others. I rediscovered this when I was drumming in my last West African drumming workshop. Kadijah had me on the big low drum and I had to hold the beat together for the rest of us newbie drum players during our last song and the culmination of all that we had learnt that day.
I was concentrating really hard, my brain tying me to my hands, my feet wide apart and my stomach hanging out and breathing deeply. Nothing brings your heart, mind and body together more than music.
Your body and mind must work in unison. You cannot be distracted or self -conscious or you will lose the beat. Your mind must stay focused and the only thing you will hear is your own beat, and how it is working in chorus with the other drummers.
It is hard work and it makes you a whole person engaged in the moment. It is satisfying and revealing; discovering the power of singing or drumming allows the body to remember what it felt like to learn how to walk or talk. Like infants we smile broadly, proud of ourselves and amazed at the sound of our own voices.